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Presented  to  the 

UNIVERSITY  OF  TORONTO 
LIBRARY 

by  the 

ONTARIO  LEGISLATIVE 
LIBRARY 

1980 


w 


BLACKWOOD'S 


MAGAZINE. 


VOL.  CLXIV. 


&?— DECEMBER   1898. 


WILLIAM  BLACKWOOD  &  SONS,  EDINBUEGH; 

ANB 

37  PATEENOSTEE  EOW,  LONDON. 


1898. 

All  Rights  of  Translation  and  Republication  reserved. 


BLACKWOOD'S 
EDINBURGH     MAGAZINE. 


No.  DCCCOXCIII. 


JULY  1898. 


VOL.  CLXIV. 


SEVENTY    YEAItS    AT    WESTMINSTER. 


BY 
THE    EIGHT    HON.    SIR   JOHN    E.    MOVVBRAY,    BART.,    M.P. 


I  MAY  as  well  begin  with  the 
first  incident  in  my  life's  history. 
It  is  a  joke  in  my  family  that  I 
once  saw  the  First  Napoleon. 
And  I  don't  see  that  any  one 
could  very  well  dispute  the  asser- 
tion, if  I  chose  to  make  it.  I  was 
born  on' June  3,  1815,  at  Exeter 
— fifteen  days  before  Waterloo  ; 
and  a  month  later  was  taken  to 
Teignmouth  with  my  mother  after 
her  convalescence.  The  Beller- 
ophon,  with  the  Emperor  on 
board,  was  anchored  in  Torbay  on 
the  evening  of  July  24,  and  lay 
there  until  the  morning  of  the  26th. 
During  that  time  crowds  of  little 
boats  put  off  with  folks  anxious 
to  catch  a  glimpse  of  the  great 
Napoleon.  My  people  did  not  go 
owing  to  some  accident,  but  as  it 
was,  my  mother  was  on  the  shore, 
and  I  was  close  by  in  the  nurse's 
arms,  on  the  25th  of  July,  to  see 

VOL.  CLXIV. — NO.  DCCCCXCIII. 


what  could  be  seen.  So  that  it 
is  not  impossible  that  (though  I  do 
not  know  it)  I  set  eyes  upon  the 
Bellerophon,  with  Napoleon  stand- 
ing on  the  deck. 

I  was  born,  at  any  rate,  at  a 
time  when  the  memory  of  the  great 
Emperor  was  quite  fresh,  and  the 
terror  of  the  name  of  Buonaparte 
had  scarcely  passed  away.  I  re- 
member well  hearing  of  his  death, 
in  1821.  Mr  Balcombe,  with 
whose  family  Napoleon  was  inti- 
mate at  St  Helena,  was  a  friend 
of  my  grandfather,  and  sent  him 
news  from  Longwood.  He  sent  also 
a  walking-cane  of  the  Emperor's, 
which  I  have  in  my  possession 
now. 

One  of  my  earliest  recollections 
is  of  the  news  of  George  III. 'a 
death  coming  to  us  in  Devonshire. 
My  mother  was  in  grief  and  tears 
on  the  receipt  of  it :  we  were 

A 


Seventy  Years  at  Westminster. 


[July 


always  a  strong  Tory  family,  and 
the  good  old  king  was  held  in 
affectionate  veneration  by  his  loyal 
subjects.  In  1821  I  was  at  Exeter 
Cathedral,  at  a  crowded  service  on 
the  day  of  the  coronation  of  George 
IV.  From  the  nursery  upwards 
I  was  a  great  politician.  1  learnt 
to  abhor  Queen  Caroline.  I  dili- 
gently read  'John  Bull,'  and  was 
confirmed  in  my  Toryism  by  Theo- 
dore Hook.  1  watched  with  keen 
interest  the  struggles  between  Mr 
Canning  and  Mr  Peel  for  the 
ascendancy  of  the  Tory  party,  and 
was  an  early  Peelite.  I  rejoiced 
in  the  downfall  of  the  short-lived 
Canning  Administration.  I  at- 
tended county  meetings  and  signed 
petitions  against  Roman  Catholic 
Emancipation  ;  and  was,  of  course, 
greatly  irate  with  the  Duke  and 
Peel  for  their  surrender.  In  1829 
I  went  to  Westminster  School. 

George  IV.  died  on  June  20, 
1830.  That  was  a  Saturday,  and 
William  IV.  was  not  proclaimed 
until  the  Monday  following.  1  can 
remember  going  to  two  churches  on 
the  intervening  Sunday.  The  par- 
sons were  greatly  at  a  loss  to  know 
in  what  terms  to  pray  for  the 
King.  Some  prayed  for  the  King 
simply,  and  some  for  King  William ; 
and  there  were  others  who,  crediting 
a  rumour  that  had  been  going  about 

O  O 

that  the  new  King  wished  to  be 
known  as  William  Henry  I.,  prayed 
for  him  in  that  style.  1  was  at  the 
coronation  of  William  IV.  and 
Queen  Adelaide  in  the  autumn  of 
the  next  year,  and  sent  an  account 
of  it  to  my  mother  in  the  following 
letter,  which  may  be  interesting 
after  this  lapse  of  time: — 

"DEAN'S  YAED, 

September  9,  1831. 

"  All  the  sixth  breakfasted  together 
yesterday,  and  at  half-past  seven  we 
went  into  the  Abbey.  Having  in- 
spected all  the  arrangements  the  day 
before,  I  knew  where  to  fix  myself, 


and  I  got  about  the  best  place  in  our 
seats,  which  certainly  were  as  good  as 
any.  About  nine  the  Peers  and  Peer- 
esses arrived,  dressed  in  their  robes. 
The  Duchess  of  St  Albans  was  the 
most  magnificent,  with  such  a  pro- 
fusion of  diamonds  ;  next  to  her  in 
splendour  came  the  Marchioness  of 
Londonderry.  The  dress  of  the  Duke 
of  St  Albans  as  Grand  Falconer  was 
also  very  splendid.  I  saw  the  Earl  of 
Minister,  Lord  Frederick  and  Lord 
Augustus  FitzClarence,  then.  When 
the  Duke  of  Wellington  did  homage 
to  the  King,  there  was  a  loud  and 
universal  shout  of  applause  and  clap- 
ping of  hands  for  several  minutes,  in 
which,  as  you  may  suppose,  I  joined 
most  heartily.  There  was  no  dis- 
sentient voice.  Lord  Lyndhurst  re- 
ceived marks  of  approbation,  though 
not  quite  so  warm.  Cheers  were 
attempted  for  Lord  Grey,  but  they 
were  very  feeble,  and  met  by  a  corre- 
sponding number  of  hisses.  When 
Lord  Brougham  came  forward,  cheers 
were  given  for  him,  but  they  were 
drowned  in  hisses  and  groans.  The 
Chancellor  did  not  appear  well 
pleased,  as  he  showed  by  the  twitches 
of  his  nose  and  his  distortions  of 
countenance.  He  was  continually 
displaying  a  glaring  yellow  pocket- 
handkerchief,  which  excited  the 
laughter  of  the  spectators.  The 
King  looked  a  feeble  old  man.  The 
Queen  supported  the  high  station  with 
all  proper  dignity.  When  she  re- 
turned to  her  throne  with  the  crown 
on  her  head,  the  bursts  of  applause 
with  which  she  was  welcomed  far 
surpassed  those  which  attended  his 
Majesty's  reception. 

"  I  got  out  of  the  Abbey  about  four 
o'clock.  In  the  evening  I  went  out 
to  see  the  illuminations.  I  went  up 
Whitehall,  through  Strand,  Fleet 
Street,  Holborn,  Oxford  Street,  Bond 
Street,  Piccadilly,  St  James's  Street, 
Pall  Mall,  Parliament  Street,  &c.,  and 
returned  about  ten  o'clock." 

At  the  Queen's  Jubilee  in  1897 
I  was  one  of  the  deputation  who 
presented  an  address  from  the 
University  of  Oxford  to  her 
Majesty  at  Windsor  Castle.  I 
mentioned  to  several  friends  that 
I  was  the  only  member  of  Convo- 


1898.] 


Seventy  Years  at  Westminster. 


cation  then,  present  who  had  gone 
up  with  the  address  on  the  occa- 
sion of  the  Queen's  marriage  in 
1840,  of  which,  owing  to  one  little 
incident,  I  had  a  peculiarly  vivid 
recollection.  We  had  met  at  the 
Oxford  and  Cambridge  Club  and 
walked  to  Buckingham  Palace, 
the  Duke  of  Wellington  in  cap 
and  gown  heading  the  procession 
as  Chancellor.  At  the  top  of  the 
stairs  outside  the  Audience  Cham- 
ber we  were  kept  waiting  for  a 
short  time.  I  heard  the  Duke  of 
Wellington  say  to  Phillpotts,  the 
Bishop  of  Exeter :  "  My  Lord, 
there  is  an  ancient  motto  —  it 
is  a  very  good  motto  —  that 
should  be  hung  in  the  halls  of 
all  sovereigns.  It  is  a  French 
motto  :  '  L'exactitude  est  la  poli- 
tesse  des  Rois.' "  When  I  men- 
tioned the  fact  of  my  going  up 
in  1840,  the  present  Chancellor 
said  he  could  beat  me,  for  he  was 
at  the  coronation  in  1838;  to 
which  I  was  able  to  reply,  "  Oh, 
I  was  at  the  coronation  of  William 
IV.  in  1831."  The  '  Daily  News  ' 
afterwards  stated  that  I  had  been 
present  at  the  Coronation  of 
William  III.,  whereupon  the 
'  Pall  Mall  Gazette '  made  some 
pretty  play,  saying  that  as  that 
took  place  in  1689r  I  must  be  two 
hundred  years  old  at  least. 

Westminster  School  in  the 
eighteenth  century  was  a  rival  of 
Eton,  and  a  training-ground  especi- 
ally for  Whig  statesmen.  When 
I  went  there  in  1829  the  Russells, 
the  Lennoxs,  the  Pagets,  and  many 
other  families  still  sent  their  sons 
there  ;  but  the  school  began  to  fall 
off  after  the  opening  of  King's 
College  in  1831,  and  has  never 
recovered  its  old  position.  The 
Cabinet  of  Lord  John  Russell 
in  1846  was  composed,  to  a  great 
extent,  of  old  Westminsters. 
Among  my  contemporaries  at  the 
school  were  the  Earl  of  March, 


now  Duke  of  Tviohmond  ;  Lord 
Henry  Fitzmaurice,  father  of  the 
present  Marquis  of  Lansdowne ; 
Lords  Alfred  and  George  Paget ; 
Baliol  Brett,  now  Viscount  Esher  ; 
Sir  Walter  James,  afterwards 
created  Lord  Northbourne ;  Cot- 
ton and  Milman,  successively 
Bishops  of  Calcutta ;  and  James 
Anthony  Froude.  Froude,  like 
myself,  was  a  Devonshire  boy,  and 
I  kept  up  an  acquaintance  with 
him  all  his  life,  and  was  the  first 
old  friend  who  congratulated  him 
on  his  appointment  as  Regius  Pro- 
fessor of  History  at  Oxford.  He 
was  younger  than  I  was,  and  he 
entered  the  school  later,  though 
not  much  later  evidently ;  for  on 
asking  him  in  after  years  if  he  had 
been  there  during  the  reign  of 
George  IV.,  "  Yes,  I  was  there," 
he  said  ;  "  don't  you  remember  the 
bell  tolling  for  the  King?"  I 
remembered  very  well  the  bell  of 
St  Paul's  tolling.  Froude  was  a 
bright  fellow.  As  a  small  boy  he 
had  read  all  the  Waverley  novels, 
and  at  school  was  very  interesting, 
having  lived  all  his  young  life  in  a 
region  of  romance. 

Westminster  School  was  to  me 
a  portal  to  the  House  of  Commons, 
for  I  made  good  use  of  the  ancient 
privilege  Westminster  scholars 
have  of  going  in  and  out  of  the 
Houses  of  Parliament  when  they 
like.  In  my  day  more  advantage 
was  taken  of  it  than  is  now  the 
case,  and  it  was  a  larger  privilege 
then ;  for  we  could  go  under  the 
gallery  and  on  a  level  with  the 
floor  of  the  House  of  Commons, 
and  could  appear  at  the  bar  of  the 
Lords.  My  earliest  recollections 
of  the  House  of  Lords  are  con- 
nected with  the  dignified  attitude 
and  charm  of  Lord  Lyndhurst 
sitting  as  Chancellor  on  the  wool- 
sack, and  my  latest  thoughts  of 
him  are  connected  with  the  memor- 
able speech  which  "  the  old  man 


Seventy  Years  at  Westminster, 


[July 


eloquent "  marie  on  his  ninetieth 
birthday  in  1863.  By  very  fre- 
quent attendances  in  both  Houses 
I  came  to  hear  all  the  great 
speakers  and  debaters  of  the  day 
— the  Duke  of  Wellington,  Earl 
Grey,  Lansdowne,  Lyndhurst, 
Brougham,  Ellenborough,  and 
many  others  in  the  Lords  ;  Lords 
Althorp  and  John  Russell,  Mr 
Stanley  and  Sir  James  Graham,  Sir 
Robert  Peel,  Sir  Charles  Weth- 
erall,  Croker,  Macaulay,  O'Connell, 
and  Shinl  in  the  Commons. 

My  Westminster  life  fell  upon 
one  of  the  most  exciting  times  that 
our  Parliament  has  ever  known. 
The  various  stages  of  the  first 
Reform  Act  are  still  clear  in  my 
mind.  On  March  1,  1831,  the 
Reform  Bill  was  introduced  into 
the  House  of  Commons,  and  on 
the  22nd  the  second  reading  was 
carried  by  a  majority  of  1.  In 
Committee  the  Ministry  was  de- 
feated on  General  Gascoyiie's 
amendment  on  April  19.  The 
next  day  they  were  again  defeated 
on  Estimates.  On  the  21st  I 
went  to  Fenton's  Hotel,  St  James's 
Street,  to  call  upon  Mr  Buck,  M.P. 
for  Exeter,  and  he  told  me  that 
he  thought  they  were  in  for  Dis- 
solution. On  my  way  back  from 
him  I  saw  the  Duke  of  Cumber- 
land galloping  in  hot  haste  under 
the  archway  of  the  Horse  Guards ; 
and  in  Dean's  Yard  I  heard  the 
guns  firing  and  guessed  what  it 
meant,  and  I  was  told  that  the 
King  was  already  proroguing  Par- 
liament. In  the  Lords,  before  the 
King's  arrival,  Brougham  amid  tre- 
mendous excitement  alleged  that 
the  Commons  had  threatened  to 
stop  Supplies,  thus  getting  up  a 
cry  to  go  to  the  country  with. 
On  May  22,  during  the  Whitsun- 
tide holidays,  I  went  home,  going 
down  to  Exeter  on  a  mail-coach. 
It  was  a  bitter  night,  and  the 


Devonshire  apples  were  all  nipped  ; 
so  that  it  has  always  been  a  say- 
ing with  me,  "  Never  be  sure  of 
your  apples  until  the  2 2nd  of  May 
is  past." 

The  next  stage  of  the  fight  be- 
gan after  the  New  Parliament  met 
on  June  14,  and  for  the  second 
reading  of  the  New  Reform  Bill 
there  was  a  majority  of  upwards 
of  100.  On  September  8  the  King 
was  crowned.  The  Bill  was  not 
out  of  the  Commons  until  Septem- 
ber 22 ;  and,  October  8,  it  was 
thrown  out  by  the  Lords  by  a 
majority  of  41.  The  next  day 
was  a  day  of  the  greatest  excite- 
ment ;  Parliament  was  prorogued, 
and  summoned  to  meet  again  on 
December  6.  The  majority  in  the 
Commons  for  the  second  reading 
on  December  17  was  162.  In 
March  1832  it  was  introduced 
into  the  Lords,  and  this  time  the 
second  reading  was  carried  on 
April  13.  I  had  special  leave 
to  get  away  to  the  House  that 
night  with  another  Westminster 
boy,  whose  father,  Sir  George 
Clerk,  was  looking  after  us.  Our 
pockets  were  filled  with  food 
against  an  all-night  sitting.  We 
were  first  at  the  bar,  and  after- 
wards placed  within  the  steps  of 
the  throne ;  but  as  we  were  in 
the  way — for  there  was  a  great 
crowd,  and  the  House  of  Lords  of 
those  days  was  very  small — we 
we  were  sent  home  about  nine, 
the  debate  continuing  until  seven 
in  the  morning.  The  bill  had  still 
to  run  the  gantlet  of  Committee, 
however ;  and  on  May  7  a  motion 
of  Lord  Lyndhurst  to  determine 
the  number  of  places  to  be  en- 
franchised before  entering  into 
consideration  of  what  places  should 
be  disenfranchised  was  carried  by 
35;  on  the  9th  Lord  Grey  re- 
signed, the  King  accepted  the 
resignation,  and  sent  for  the  Duke 


1898.] 


Seventy  Years  at  Westminster. 


of  Wellington.  The  tension  in  the 
country  was  tremendous  :  during 
the  six  days  in  which  the  Duke 
was  trying  to  form  a  Ministry,  I 
suppose,  we  were  as  near  a  revolu- 
tion as  ever  a  country  was.  I 
remember  very  well  the  placards 
that  were  posted  everywhere — 

"TO   STOP   THE    DUKE,    GO    FOR 
GOLD." 

Charing  Cross  seemed  covered 
with  them.  Among  them  appeared 
another — 

"SUSSEX   FOR    PRIME    MINISTER"; 

for  there  was  some  idle  irresponsible 
talk  about  the  Duke  of  Sussex  tak- 
ing the  place  of  Lord  Grey  as  Prime 
Minister.  As  a  counterblast  to  it 
some  one  had  posted  up — 

"  PUT   NOT   YOUR   TRUST    IN 
PRINCES." 

The  Duke  of  Wellington  failed 
to  form  an  Administration,  and 
Lord  Grey  was  restored  to  office, 
having  obtained  from  the  King 
the  power  which  he  desired  author- 
ising a  creation  of  peers  sufficient 
to  pass  the  Bill.  Thereupon  the 
Duke  exerted  his  influence  and 
induced  some  of  the  Lords  to 
absent  themselves,  and  so  withdraw 
their  opposition,  and  on  June  22 
the  Reform  Bill  received  the  Royal 
Assent.  There  my  experience  of 
my  first  three  Parliaments  ended, 
for  I  left  Westminster  School  at 
Christmas  1832. 

I  may  mention  here  my  recollec- 
tion of  the  destruction  of  the 
Houses  of  Parliament  by  fire, 
though  that  occurred  in  October 
1834,  after  I  had  left  Westminster. 
I  happened  to  be  passing  through 
London  on  my  way  home  from 
Oxford,  and  was  dining  out  that 
night.  Among  the  party  was 
Smedley,  High  Bailiff  of  West- 
minster, and  he  was  sent  for  in  his 


official  capacity.  I  begged  him 
to  take  me  with  him,  which  he 
did,  and  thus  I  saw  the  fire  well. 

I  passed  through  some  of  the 
passages  of  the  old  House  of  Com- 
mons, and  in  particular  through 
that  which  is  now  the  members' 
cloak-room;  thence  I  went  out,  and 
remained  all  night  in  front  of  the 
east  end  of  Henry  VII. 's  Chapel 
watching  the  progress  of  the  fire. 
Opposite  to  me  was  a  low  screen 
in  brick-and-plaster,  in  the  Straw- 
berry Hill  Gothic  style,  with  the 
House  of  Lords  behind  it  and  a 
very  tall  Perpendicular  window. 
In  the  middle  of  the  night  the 
flames  mounted  up  the  window, 
and  the  whole  collapsed  like  a 
house  built  of  cards.  We  all  ex- 
claimed with  horror,  "  Nothing 
now  can  save  Westminster  Hall," 
and  it  appeared  as  if  it  was  so 
at  first.  The  flames  spread  in  a 
northerly  direction  and  seemed  to 
make  for  the  roof.  However,  the 
fire  was  kept  under,  and  the  old 
Hall  of  Rufus  remained  unhurt, 
and  is  so  still,  giving  a  noble 
vestibule  to  the  Houses  of  Parlia- 
ment. At  that  time  the  Law 
Courts  all  opened  into  the  Hall, 
and  it  was  reported  that  Sir 
Frederick  Thesiger  said  next 
day,  "  If  Westminster  Hall  had 
been  burnt  down,  what  a  petti- 
fogging profession  ours  would 
have  been  ! " 

After  leaving  Westminster  I 
went  for  six  months  to  a  private 
tutor's,  and  then  proceeded  to 
Oxford,  matriculating  on  May  23, 
1833,  and  going  into  residence  at 
Christ  Church  in  October  of  the 
same  year.  In  1835  I  was  elected 
a  student  of  Christ  Church.  In 
1836  I  was  president  of  the  Oxford 
Union,  of  which  Mr  Gladstone  was 
president  in  1830;  and  now  all 
the  presidents  before  me  are  dead. 
In  November  of  the  same  year  I 


Seventy  Years  at  Westminster. 


[July 


went  in  for  my  examination  in 
Literis  Humanioribus.  I  was 
placed  in  the  second  class,  in 
company  with  the  Earl  of  Gran- 
brook,  Frederic  William  Faber, 
and  Lord  Justice  Hellish.  In 
1837  I  took  my  degree,  and  went 
out  of  residence. 

At  Christ  Church  I  found 
William  George  Ward,  then  of 
three  years'  standing,  and  it  was 
through  him  that  I  came  to  be 
introducpd  to  the  leading  spirits 
of  the  Union.  With  the  Union 
my  most  cherished  recollections  of 
Oxford  are  bound  up.  Perhaps  it 
absorbed  almost  too  much  of  my 
interests  ;  perhaps  it  rather  spoiled 
my  class.  But  I  have  always 
looked  upon  that  debating-ground 
as  giving  men  the  best  training 
they  could  have  for  public  life — 
for  political  life  certainly.  That 
was  proved  in  the  case  of  the  very 
remarkable  men  among  whom  I 
was  thrown  :  Archibald  Campbell 
Tait,  afterwards  Archbishop  of 
Canterbury ;  Roundell  Palmer, 
afterwards  Lord  Chancellor  Earl 
of  Selborne ;  Robert  Lowe,  after- 
wards Viscount  Sherbrooke ;  Ed- 
ward Cardwell  (Viscount  Card- 
well)  ;  Lord  Justice  Mellish,  whom 
an  early  death  stopped  in  a  career 
that  seemed  destined  to  end  in  a 
higher  place ;  Gathorne  Hardy, 
now  Earl  of  Cranbrook ;  Stafford 
Northcote,  first  Earl  of  Idclesleigh ; 
Charles  Marriott,  Ward,  Faber, 
and  many  others. 

I  had  gone  up  in  the  Union's 
palmy  days.  In  the  few  years 
immediately  preceding  this  Syd- 
ney Herbert,  Milnes  Gaskell,  Mr 
Gladstone,  the  Earl  of  Elgin,  the 
Duke  of  Newcastle,  had  held  the 
office  of  president.  As  I  have 
said,  all  the  presidents  before  me 
are  gone ;  and  I  believe  that  I  am 
very  nearly  the  oldest  member  of 
Christ  Church  living  now. 

Though  not  eligible  as  a  member 


of  the  Union  in  my  first  winter  in 
residence,  I  was  present  at  its 
now  famous  meeting  when  the 
fate  of  the  "  Ramblers  "  was  dis- 
cussed. It  was  a  question  of  Union 
politics.  The  committee  for  a  year 
or  two  had  been  drawn  from  a 
party  that  included  Ward,  Card- 
well,  Tait,  and  Roundell  Palmer, 
whose  government  had  been  vehe- 
mently criticised  by  an  opposition 
led  by  Lowe.  Feeling  ran  high, 
and  when  in  1833  Edward  Massie, 
of  Wadham,  the  nominee  of  the 
opposition,  was  elected  president, 
with  Lowe  himself  as  librarian, 
the  ousted  committee  took  their 
dismissal  in  some  personal  dudgeon, 
and  started  a  society  of  their  own. 
This  was  the  "Ramblers,"  so  called 
because  it  had  no  stated  meeting- 
place.  Its  success  so  dimmed  the 
lustre  of  the  Union  that  the  new 
committee  now  proposed  to  ex- 
pel the  "  Ramblers."  The  Union 
Hall  could  not  hold  all  who  wished 
to  hear  the  debate  on  this  motion, 
and  a  clamorous  meeting  was  held 
in  the  Star  Hotel. 

The  debate  has  been  celebrated 
in  a  Greek-Latin  macaronic  poem, 
the  '  Uniomachia,'  justly  praised 
for  its  scholarship  and  good  fun. 
The  idea  seems  to  have  originated 
with  Thomas  Jackson,  afterwards 
rector  of  Stoke  Newington ;  and 
Sinclair,  the  "  Skimmerian  Sin- 
clair "  of  the  poem,  assisted  in 
working  it  out.  Robert  Scott, 
afterwards  Master  of  Balliol,  is 
said  to  have  supplied  the  very 
ingenious  and  learned  notes  — 
probably  more.  He  had  already 
written  a  clever  Greek  squib  on 
an  imaginary  contest  between  the 
Duke  of  Wellington  and  Sir 
Robert  Peel  for  the  Chancellor- 
ship of  the  University.  It  was 
privately  circulated  only,  and  was 
anonymous,  although  the  author 
was  known.  At  any  rate,  some 
years  later  I  was  staying  at 


1898.] 


Seventy  Years  at  Westminster. 


Rochester  with  Dr  Hawkins,  and 
met  Scott  at  dinner,  and  on  the 
conversation  happening  to  turn 
upon  this  skit,  I  discovered  that 
Dr  Hawkins  had  never  heard  of 
it.  Yet  he  was  Provost  of  Oriel 
in  1834,  and  I  had  the  pleasure  of 
introducing  him,  sometime  in  the 
seventies,  to  the  lines  in  which 
the  various  Heads  of  Houses  were 
described  as  they  were  in  the 
thirties.  It  is  possible  that,  for 
some  reason  or  other,  Scott  did 
not  care  to  avow  his  full  share  in 
the  '  Uniomachia,'  of  which  an 
English  version  shortly  afterwards 
appeared. 

The    two    parties,    then,    were 
ranged  for  battle  in  the  Star  : — 

"  Ranged  on  the  left  the  foe  prepared 

to  fight 
The    Rambler   phalanx   marshalled  on 

the  right ; 
In  high  command  above  their  host  are 

seen 
Ward,    Tory    chief,     and     Cardwell's 

graceful  mien. 
Supreme  in   eloquence   they    lead  the 

way, 
The   first  in  counsel,  and  the   first  in 

sway : 
Brancker  conducts  the  bold  Massienian 

throng."  l 

Massie  left  the  chair  to  speak,  and 
Lowe  took  his  place.  When  Tait 
interrupted  Massie's  speech  and  re- 
fused to  sit  down,  Lowe  promptly 
fined  him  in  £1  : — 


"With  thund'ring  sound 
Tait  shook  his  tasselled  cap,  and  sprang 

to  ground 
(The  tasselled  cap  by  Juggins'  hand  was 

made, 
Or  some  keen  brother  of  the  London 

trade, 
Unconscious   of    the   stern   decrees   of 

fate 
What    ruthless    thumps  'the    batter'd 

trencher  waits). 
Dire  was  the  clang,  and  dreadful  from 

afar 

Of  Tait  indignant,  rushing  to  the  war. 
In    vain    the    Chair's    dread    mandate 

interfered, 
Nor  Chair,  nor  fine,  the  angry  warrior 

feared, — 
A    forfeit   pound   th'  unequal   contest 

ends."  2 

In  the  end  the  Ramblers  won 
the  day.  Charles  Marriott,  "Mar- 
riott the  good  "  of  the  poem,  who 
had  intervened  in  the  row  caused 
by  Tait  with  a  plea  for  more  order 
on  both  sides,  was  elected  presi- 
dent in  the  following  session,  and 
the  feud  ended.  The  joke  was, 
that  when  Tait,  with  his  own  party 
in  power,  made  an  appeal  against 
the  fine,  the  appeal  was  not  suc- 
cessful. Of  Archbishop  Tait,  with 
whom  I  was  closely  intimate  till 
his  death,  I  used  to  say  that  I 
knew  him  first  in  connection  with 
the  incident.  There  was  another 
row  in  1835,  which  lasted  several 
weeks,  when  there  were  sharp  en- 
counters between  Trevor,  after- 


'Pirci)  'Pdfj.  f}\-rj  pot  crirrov,  \f<pri}>  re  yiafff^x 
KapTTtrip  (v  SaTr^Sai  airrti  irpemS^vnos  SA 
[Oil  MarOevs  K0fj.ti<6s  TTOT'  eTrai^e  irwo?s  re 
'ItpOi/jios  Matrixes,  ettitav  eV^eVcr'  ayopfveiv. 

*fls  <!<par'  eiMppovecav  •  ToKeiYos  5"  S,\ro  xa/j.a£e  ' 
Kal  Tt1\ov  jSpoi'SiO'o'e,  vebi/  Se  re  povov  ijpcapev. 
n?A.oi/  'luyytvffos  Troii)ffaro  Kal  tcd/ne  •x.^P(fiv 
'H  ris  Aoi/5f?i/ou  rpd$(r/j.av  '  a\\'  OVK  tv6ir]rre 
'Ev  rovrta  Trore  K&V  ir'iKov  dvfj.t^ea'dai  dycavi. 

€iv  8'  f6t\ovri  <pt\ovs,  Trpeffifievrtos  avrf 
/j./j.dvSfi,  ttr'  &p'  ivrtfipwrrre  Se'/Sara* 
'  Sri  Trep<Ti(rrei  Svyriivos  (pfiverat  ovirovvS. 


e.  ] 


Seventy  Years  at  Westminster. 


[July 


wards  Honorary  Canon  of  York, 
and  Lowe.  Trevor  had  attacked 
the  committee,  of  which  Ward, 
Mellish,  and  myself  were  members. 
A  select  committee  was  appointed, 
of  which  Lowe  was  chairman,  and 
they  replied  that  Trevor's  allega- 
tions were  unfounded  and  he  ought 
to  withdraw  them.  Ward  was 
absorbed  in  the  struggle  all  the 
time.  In  Mr  Wilfred  Ward's  Life 
of  his  father,  CardweK  is  reported 
to  have  said,  "There  goes  old  Ward, 
the  incarnation  of  the  Union."  As 
a  proof  of  how  much  Ward  was  pos- 
sessed of  the  subject  all  that  time, 
he  told  me  he  dreamt  he  was  back 
at  Winchester  and  was  construing 
some  Latin  words  thus  :  "  Bona  (a 
constitutional  woman),  prognata 
(sprung),  parentibus  (of  parents), 
bonis  (who  likewise  supported  the 
committee)."  He  always  called 
the  supporters  of  the  committee 
the  Constitutional  party. 

The  Oxford  Union  was  founded 
in  1823  as  the  United  Debating 
Society,  and  in  October  1873  there 
was  a  Jubilee  dinner  at  which  all 
these  old  days  were  pleasantly 
brought  to  mind.  For  me  there 
was  a  special  and  unique  link  with 
that  past,  for  it  was  my  great 
pleasure  to  see  my  son,  the  then 
president,  in  the  chair  at  that 
dinner,  and  presiding  at  this 
reunion  of  men  distinguished  at 
the  Union,  and  distinguished  in 
public  service  later, — Archbishop 
Tait,  Lord  Chancellor  Selborne,  the 
Marquis  of  Salisbury  (Chancellor 
of  the  University),  Mr  Card  well, 
Mr  Gathorne  Hardy,  Mr  Goschen, 
Lord  Justice  Mellish,  Sir  John 
Coleridge  (then  Attorney-General), 
the  Bishops  of  Chichester  and 
Oxford,  Cardinal  Manning ;  and 
Canon  Liddon,  Mr  Matthew  Ar- 
nold, Mr  Jowett,  among  those  of 
later  times. 

Many  of  these  Union  acquaint- 
ances remained  lifelong  friends. 


Ward  I  knew  intimately.  At 
Oxford  we  recognised  that  he  was 
a  man  of  great  reasoning  powers, 
of  strong  convictions,  well  grounded, 
like  most  Wykehamists,  in  his 
Latin  and  Greek,  but  not  an  in- 
dustrious undergraduate.  He  was 
a  commoner  of  Christ  Church,  and 
ought  to  have  gone  up  for  the 
schools  in  May  of  1834  ;  but  he 
was  not  ready,  and  did  not  wish  to 
go  up  then,  and  asked  permission  to 
wait  until  later.  This  was  refused. 
He  then  stood  for  and  was  elected 
to  a  scholarship  at  Lincoln  College, 
and  he  took  two  seconds  in  classics 
and  mathematics.  In  the  same 
year  he  was  elected  a  Fellow  of 
Balliol.  He  was  in  those  days  a 
professed  admirer  of  Arnold  and 
of  Archbishop  Whately. 

But  Ward  was  at  the  same  time 
a  tremendous  High  Tory,  and  bad 
a  natural  love  of  authority,  al- 
though all  his  theological  pro- 
clivities were  then  for  the  lati- 
tudinarian  side.  Even  at  that 
period  we  said  of  him  that  he 
ought  to  have  belonged  to  the 
Roman  communion.  As  a  matter 
of  fact,  he  had  then  no  affinity  for 
Newman,  over  whom,  after  he  had 
thrown  himself  into  the  Tractarian 
movement,  he  had  enormous  in- 
fluence, —  an  influence  that  waa 
remarkable,  for  he  did  not  pro- 
fess to  be,  nor  was  he,  a  man  of 
deep  reading  or  wide  knowledge. 

We  frequently  met  in  these  later 
years — sometimes  when  in  Lon- 
don he  dined  with  me  and  other 
friends  ;  and  he  was  the  same  man 
as  of  old.  I  have  always  been  a 
great  walker,  and  used  to  delight 
in  a  walk  on  Hampstead  Heath. 
The  last  time  I  met  Ward  I  found 
him  on  the  Heath,  where  he  also 
resorted.  We  had  a  long  talk 
about  old  friends.  He  spoke 
especially  of  Tait's  great  kindness 
to  him,  and  how  he  was  always  the 
same.  He  added  :  "  Tait's  a  lucky 


1898.] 


Seventy  Years  at  Westminster. 


fellow,  you're  a  lucky  fellow. 
Both  lucky  fellows ! 

'Ille  crucem  pretium  sceleris  tulit  hie 
diadema ' 

— I  don't  mean  to  say  that  either 
of  you  is  scelus."  That  was  in 
Ward's  old  manner. 

The  mention  of  Ward  naturally 
suggests  the  "  Tractarian  move- 
ment." I  only  knew  one  or  two 
of  the  leaders  of  it,  and  none  of 
them  as  such.  Keble,  of  course, 
was  a  much  older  man.  He  was 
Professor  of  Poetry  at  Oxford 
when  I  was  in  residence  there,  but 
I  did  not  know  him  until  later.  I 
spent  a  day  with  him  once  at 
Hursley  :  he  was  a  charming  man, 
the  finest  type  of  a  thoughtful, 
learned,  sober  -  minded  English 
country  clergyman.  When  I  came 
up  to  Oxford  I  brought  an  intro- 
duction to  Pusey,  who  had  been 
Regius  Professor  of  Hebrew  for 
years.  He  used  to  invite  parties 
of  undergraduates  to  his  house, — 
parties  of  eight  or  ten,  who  would 
go  there  about  eight  o'clock  after 
dining  in  Hall — we  dined  at  five 
o'clock  in  those  days — and  stayed 
for  an  hour  or  so.  These  were 
very  quiet  affairs.  In  after-years 
I  called  upon  him  always  when  I 
was  in  Oxford.  He  received  me 
most  kindly,  and  it  was  always  a 
privilege  to  be  received  as  cordially 
as  I  was  by  such  a  saintly  man. 
He  took  a  lively  interest  in  all 
academical  questions  which  from 
time  to  time  came  before  the  House 
of  Commons. 

It  does  not  fall  within  the  scope 
of  these  reminiscences  to  give  an 
opinion  on  the  effects  generally  of 
the  Tractarian  movement.  Keble's 
assize  sermon,  which  Newman  al- 
ways regarded  as  the  beginning  of 
the  movement,  was  preached  at 
St  Mary'p,  Oxford,  in  July  1833, 
after  I  matriculated  but  before  I 
came  up  to  residence.  The  early 


'Tracts  for  the  Times'  appeared 
in  the  autumn,  and  were  noticed 
to  some  extent.  The  '  Christian 
Year'  was  largely  read,  and  at 
that  time  the  movement  was  all 
for  good.  I  am  not  thinking  of 
the  undergraduates  alone. 

To  return  to  the  friends  I  made 
at  Oxford.  In  November  1834 
I  noticed  Ward  at  a  window  with 
a  man  I  hadn't  seen  before,  and 
Ward  beckoned  me  up  and  intro- 
duced me  to  the  new-comer.  It 
was  Arthur  Stanley,  who  had  just 
come  up  and  won  the  Balliol  Schol- 
arship. The  friendship  begun  thus 
in  Dean  Stanley's  first  days  at 
Oxford  lasted  all  through  his  life- 
time. One  of  my  later  recollec- 
tions of  him  is  his  delight  when 
Lightfoot  was  made  a  bishop.  "  I 
went  unto  the  Abbey,  "he  told  me, 
"  and  read  the  lesson  :  '  Can  we 
find  such  a  one  as  this  is,  a  man 
in  whom  the  Spirit  of  God  is  1 
And  Pharaoh  said  unto  Joseph, 
Forasmuch  as  God  hath  showed 
thee  all  this,  there  is  none  so 
discreet  and  wise  as  tbou  art. 
.  .  .  And  Pharaoh  took  off  his 
ring  from  his  hand,  and  put  it 
upon  Joseph's  hand,  and  arrayed 
him  in  vestures  of  fine  linen.' " 
And  he  added,  "  When  I  came 
out  I  read  my  'Times,'  and  found 
that  Joseph  Barber  Lightfoot  was 
Bishop  of  Durham." 

Tait,  too,  I  knew  during  all  his 
after-life,  and  of  course  when  I  be- 
came Archbishop's  Commissioner 
at  the  Ecclesiastical  Commission  I 
met  him  constantly.  He  once  said 
to  me  in  a  joke  that  I  had  made 
him  a  bishop,  the  foundation  of  the 
joke  being  this.  In  the  summer  of 
1854  my  wife  and  I  were  at  the 
Lakes,  and  we  spent  a  Sunday  at 
Carlisle  Deanery.  Tait  preached 
twice;  in  the  Cathedral  he  attended 
a  Sunday-school,  had  a  third  service 
for  some  old  people,  and  had  a  class 
of  young  men  who  came  to  him  in 


10 


Seventy  Years  at  Westminster. 


[July 


the  evening  at  the  Deanery.  I 
cannot  now  recall  the  number 
and  particular  nature  of  all  his 
engagements  throughout  the  day, 
but  remember  that  every  hour 
he  was  apologising  for  leaving 
us  for  this  and  for  that.  The 
following  year,  during  a  debate 
in  the  House  of  Commons  on  the 
Carlisle  Canonries  Bill,  it  was  as- 
serted by  some  one  that  the  Chapter 
did  nothing  for  the  spiritual  wants 
of  the  city.  I  was  able  to  get  up 
and  tell  the  House  my  experience 
of  one  Sunday  at  the  Deanery  at 
any  rate,  and  the  House  received 
it  well. 

I  need  say  no  more  of  the  trans- 
cendent merits  of  Tait.  The  fine 
presence,  the  noble  character,  the 
personal  goodness,  the  statesman- 
like capacity  of  the  great  Arch- 
bishop live  in  our  memories  and 
are  enshrined  in  the  history  of  the 
Church  of  England. 

The  social  life  of  the  under- 
graduates has  changed  greatly 
since  then.  In  my  day  there  were 
no  railways,  and  consequently  few 
visits  to  town — none  at  all,  in  fact. 
We  dined  at  five  o'clock.  After 
dinner  we  probably  adjourned  to 
some  man's  rooms  for  wine.  These 
wine-parties  were  quiet  gatherings, 
there  was  no  excess  at  them.  We 
left  early  and  went  to  our  own 
rooms  to  read.  There  was  little 
or  no  smoking.  Smoking  after 
dinner  was  not  the  custom  then  as 
it  is  now. 

The  most  interesting  scene  in 
my  first  year  at  Oxford  was  the 
installation  of  the  Duke  of  Wel- 
lington as  Chancellor  of  Oxford, 
in  the  Sheldonian  Theatre,  in  June 
1834.  To  the  undergraduate  of 
that  day  the  crowning  victory  of 
Waterloo  was  the  great  landmark 
in  English  history,  and  the  con- 
queror of  the  great  Napoleon  was 
the  national  hero,  the  greatest 
Englishman  that  ever  lived.  More- 
over, the  Tory  party,  just  beginning 


to  rally  after  the  disasters  of  1832, 
had  gathered  in  great  force  around 
their  illustrious  leader.  The  Duke 
of  Cumberland  was  there  and  the 
Earl  of  Eldon.  The  Archbishop 
of  Canterbury  and  many  bishops, 
and  the  Duke's  old  companions  in 
arms,  Lord  Hill  and  Lord  Fitz- 
roy  Somerset,  Lord  Londonderry, 
and  many  whose  names  are  house- 
hold words  to  that  generation,  were 
there  welcomed  and  honoured  by 
the  university.  Three  days  were 
occupied  in  conferring  degrees  and 
listening  to  prize  essays  and  poems. 
I  was  in  the  gallery  on  Wednes- 
day, June  11.  Mr  Arnould,  scholar 
of  Wadham,  recited  bis  poem, 
"The  Hospice  of  St  Bernard," 
which  had  won  the  Newdigate. 
After  describing  Napoleon  crossing 
St  Bernard,  he  proceeded  with 
these  lines  : — 

"  Till  on  that  field  where  last  the  eagle 
soared, 

War's  mightier  master  wielded  Britain's 
sword, 

And  the  dark  soul  the  world  could  not 
subdue 

Bowed  to  thy  genius,  Prince  of  Water- 
loo." 

Then  followed  such  a  scene  as  I 
never  witnessed  before  or  since. 
I  have  heard  many  rousing 
speeches  in  both  Houses  of  Parlia- 
ment, and  many  harangues,  which 
have  called  forth  the  enthusiastic 
applause  of  great  gatherings  else- 
where. I  recollect  well  the  elec- 
trical effect  which  Lord  Derby, 
as  Chancellor,  produced  in  the  same 
theatre  in  1863,  on  the  visit  of  the 
Prince  and  Princess  of  Wales, 
when  the  simple  words  "Ipsa  adest" 
charmed  and  delighted  the  loyal 
multitude,  but  I  never  saw  any- 
thing comparable  to  the  effect 
produced  by  those  lines  in  that 
Newdigate  in  1834.  We,  the  un- 
dergraduates, rose  in  the  galleries, 
shouted  until  we  were  hoarse,  sat 
down  and  rested,  shouted  again 
and  again  until  our  vocal  powers 


1898.] 


Seventy  Tears  at  Westminster. 


11 


were  quite  exhausted.     The  great 
men  in  the  semicircle,  statesmen, 
bishops,    soldiers,   divines,    Heads 
of    Houses,    were    stirred  beyond 
belief ;  the  very  floor  of  the  theatre, 
crowded    with    university     dons, 
solemn  dignitaries,   staid  country 
parsons,   cynical  lawyers,    seemed 
almost  moved  with  the  commotion 
of  its  occupants,  and  the  proceed- 
ings were  actually  interrupted  and 
impeded  for  a  time,  until  we  could 
all  recover  our  composure.      The 
bursts  of  applause  which  greeted 
many  of  the  recipients  of  degrees, 
presented   as  they  were   in   most 
admirable  speeches  by  Dr  Joseph 
Phillimore,    Regius    Professor    of 
Civil   Law,  was  very  remarkable. 
One  very  striking  scene  was  when 
Viscount    Encombe,    grandson    of 
old    Eldon,   was  described  simply 
and    concisely    as     "  Comitis     de 
Eldon    unicum    nepotem."       Lord 
Encombe,  after  receiving  his  de- 
gree and  shaking  hands  with  the 
Duke,    proceeded    in    affectionate 
and  reverential  attitude  to  receive 
the   welcome   of    his    grandfather, 
the  High  Steward  of  the  Univer- 
sity ;  and  that  brought  the  house 
down.     Another  happy  phrase  was 
when  the  Regius  Professor,  after 
describing     the    merits    of    Lord 
Fitzroy    Somerset,    brought  them 
to    a  climax  by   the   words,    "  et 
quod  maximum  est  commilitonem 
tuum."     In  the  evening  the  Duke 
of    Wellington    dined    in    Christ 
Church    Hall.      We   gave   him    a 
moat  hearty  welcome. 

I  was  called  to  the  Bar,  and 
joined  the  Devon  Sessions  and  the 
Western  Circuit  in  1842.  Sir 
Stafford  Northcote  contemplated 
doing  the  same  thing,  and  we  had 
arranged  to  have  chambers  together 
in  the  Temple.  He,  however,  relin- 
quished his  intention  of  following 
the  Bar  as  a  profession  when  he 
became  private  secretary  to  Mr 
Gladstone  in  1842.  Extracts  from 
two  letters  of  his  of  this  year 


will  show  what  our  anticipations 
as  to  the  future  were  at  that 
period : — 

Letter  from  Mr  (afterwards  Sir) 
Stafford  H.  Northcote. 

"  UNITED  UNIVERSITY  CLUB, 
July  1,  1842. 

MY  DEAR  CORNISH, — I  called  yester- 
day at  your  chambers.  I  was  very 
sorry  to  miss  you,  for  I  had  to  com- 
municate news  which  is  highly  in- 
teresting to  me  and  will  not  be  quite 
indifferent  to  you,  as  it  is  of  a  nature 
which  destroys  the  pleasant  prospect 
which  you  had  held  out  to  me  of  our 
living  together  like  Siamese  twins 
with  a  connecting  clerk.  In  short, 
I  have  given  up  the  law,  and  have 
accepted  the  post  of  private  secretary 
to  the  Eight  Honourable  Wm.  Ewart 
Gladstone,  Vice  -  President  of  the 
Board  of  Trade,  Master  of  the  Mint, 
and  future  Prime  Minister  of  Eng- 
land. I  think  upon  the  whole  I  have 
done  rightly.  I  have  attached  myself 
to  the  man  of  all  others  whom  I  re- 
spect and  agree  with  ;  I  have  entered 
upon  a  line  which  I  think  will  suit  me 
better  than  the  law,  at  all  events 
which  will  lead  me  to  more  agreeable 
studies.  I  think  I  have  every  fair 
prospect  of  success,  and  I  am  in  a 
position  that  justifies  my  running 
some  slight  risks. 

"  Gladstone  having  to  look  out  for 
a  new  private  secretary,  applied  to 
my  tutor  (E.  Coleridge)  to  recommend 
him  a  person  for  the  office.  My  tutor 
recommended  me.  I  received  the 
offer  on  Tuesday  evening,  and  am 
going  to  begin  work  in  something 
less  than  half  an  hour.  My  duties 
are  not  to  be  very  onerous,  though 
there  will  be  a  good  deal  to  do  ;  but 
a  good  proportion  of  my  time  may  be 
spent  in  very  interesting  studies  and 
occupations.  And  there  are  all  the 
chances  of  war,  for  I  link  my  fate 
to  Gladstone's,  and  a  more  zealous 
friend  I  could  not  have. 

"  If  you  are  to  be  at  Exeter  in 
August  I  shall  hope  to  see  you  and 
talk  over  matters.  I  need  not  say 
that  if  there  is  any  little  post, 
not  excluding  a  judgeship,  which  yoii 
would  like  in  the  interim,  you  have 
only  to  name  it  to  me. — Yours  very 
sincerely, 

"  STAFFORD  H.  NORTHCOTE." 


12 


Seventy  Tears  at  Westminster. 


[July 


Letter  from  Mr  (afterwards  Sir) 
Stafford  H.  Northcote. 

"U.  U.  C.,  JnlyU,  1842. 

"Mr  DEAR  CORNISH, — I  think  I 
ought  to  send  a  line  to  thank  you 
for  your  kind  letter  the  other  day, 
and  to  congratulate  you  on  your  suc- 
cess at  Sessions.  I  hope  when  the 
Ministry  of  principle,  which  we  used 
to  anticipate,  is  formed,  with  Glad- 
stone at  the  head,  you  will  occupy  the 
post  of  Attorney-General,  and  that 
we  shall  sit  side  by  side  on  the 
Treasury  benches.  I  am  in  full  work 
learning  the  subordinate  part  of  a 
Minister's  business.  My  blissful  in- 
dependence is  gone,  and  I  am  unable 
to  shirk  my  master  for  a  day.  Glad- 
stone is,  as  I  expected,  everything 
that  is  delightful,  and  I  have  no 
doubt  we  shall  get  on  very  well  to- 
gether. You  will  find  Whitehall  con- 
veniently near  to  Westminster,  and 
I  shall  hope  to  have  the  honour  of 
an  interview  next  term. — Yours  sin- 
cerely, S.  H.  N." 

I  abandoned  Circuit  after  I  en- 
tered Parliament  in  1853.  I  had 
no  reason  to  complain  of  want  of 
employment  such  as  a  junior  can 
find  at  Sessions.  And  life  on  the 
Western  Circuit  passed  pleasantly 
enough,  associated  as  one  was  with 
leaders  like  Sir  William  Erie,  after- 
wards Lord  Chief  Justice  of  the 
Common  Pleas,  then  M.P.  for  Ox- 
ford City;  Sir  Alexander  Cockburn, 
afterwards  Lord  Chief-Justice  of 
England,  then  M.P.  for  South- 
ampton ;  and  Crowder,  M.P.  for 
Liskeard,  and  Montague  Smith, 
M.P.  for  Truro,  who  afterwards 
adorned  the  judicial  Bench.  But 
success  at  the  Bar  had  never  been 
the  dominating  object  of  my  am- 
bition, and  a  House  of  Commons 
life  had  always  offered  greater 
attractions  than  anything  else. 
Moreover,  I  had  three  men,  all 
my  juniors,  treading  on  my  heels 
and  certain  to  pass  me.  Each  of 
them  in  his  turn  became  Attor- 
ney-General :  Robert  Collier,  after- 


wards Lord  Monkswell ;  John 
Duke  Coleridge,  afterwards  Lord 
Coleridge,  Lord  Chief -Justice  of 
England,  a  constant  friend  through 
life ;  and  John  Karslake,  whose 
premature  loss  when  the  highest 
honour  was  within  his  grasp  all 
alike  deplored.  In  1847  an 
auspicious  event  occurred,  which 
was  the  commencement  to  me  of 
prolonged  domestic  happiness.  I 
parted  with  my  west  -  country 
patronymic  of  Cornish,  and  I 
assumed  by  royal  licence  the 
name  by  which  I  have  been 
known  in  Parliament,  that  of 
Mowbray.  I  formed  connections 
in  the  North,  and  particularly  in 
the  county  of  Durham,  and  in 
1853  I  was  enabled  to  realise 
the  object  of  my  ambition  and 
to  enter  the  House  of  Commons 
as  member  for  the  city  of 
Durham. 

There  are,  however,  one  or  two 
incidents  in  the  period  between 
my  leaving  Oxford  and  entering 
Parliament,  to  which  I  may  refer 
here.  In  1837  I  spent  five  months 
on  the  Continent,  visiting  France, 
Italy,  and  Switzerland.  I  was  in 
Paris  when  King  Louis  Philippe 
brought  the  Duke  and  Duchess 
of  Orleans  a  bride  and  bridegroom 
from  Neuilly  to  the  Tuileries. 
The  King  used  to  appear  in  the 
evening  at  the  windows  of  the 
palace  facing  the  gardens,  sur- 
rounded by  the  Queen  and  his 
children.  I  was  present  at  the 
ceremonial  in  St  Peter's,  Rome, 
on  St  Peter's  Day.  The  following 
account,  written  at  the  time,  may 
be  of  some  interest,  because  the 
day  is  no  longer  kept  with  its 
ancient  honours : — 

'•'•June,  28, 1837. — In  the  evening  we 
went  to  St  Peter's  to  hear  vespers. 
It  was  the  eve  of  the  festival,  and  the 
Pope  and  cardinals  were  to  be  present. 
The  figure  of  St  Peter  (metamorphosed 
from  Jupiter  Capitolinus)  was  clothed 


1898.] 


Seventy  Tears  at  Westminster. 


13 


in  a  crimson  silk  dress  covered  with 
gold  lace  ;  on  his  head  he  wore  a 
white  satin  tiara  studded  with  jewels, 
on  one  finger  a  ring.  Before  him 
blazed  four  enormous  wax  lights,  and 
multitudes  of  the  faithful  crowded  to 
kiss  his  Mack  toe.  The  church  was 
lined  with  the  Civic  Guard.  Beneath 
the  dome  and  around  the  altar  were 
the  Swiss  Guard.  In  an  inner  line 
about  the  high  altar  were  a  smaller 
body  of  fine-looking  men,  forming  the 
Pope's  noble  guard.  In  splendour  it 
exceeded  everything  I  have  seen  ex- 
cept the  Coronation  of  William  IV. 
There  were  thirty  cardinals,  dressed 
in  magnificent  robes  of  crimson  and 
gold  and  wearing  mitres  of  white 
satin  figured  - —  many  with  all  the 
dignity  and  carriage  of  patricians 
of  old  Rome.  After  them  were  ec- 
clesiastics of  various  grades,  all  in 
splendid  robes.  Nearly  at  the  end 
came  Gregory  XVI.,  the  venerable 
successor  of  St  Peter,  wearing  a  splen- 
did tiara,  borne  by  four  men  on  a 
chair  of  state.  The  ceremony  took 
place  in  the  spot  between  the  high 
altar  and  the  end  of  the  church. 
The  Pope  sat  on  a  chair  covered  with 
cloth  of  gold,  with  a  canopy,  on  a 
raised  dais.  The  dignified  church- 
men paid  homage.  The  cardinals 
kissed  his  hand,  the  next  grade  his 
knee,  the  last  his  toe.  Then  vespers 
commenced.  At  their  conclusion  we 
quitted  the  church  and  took  seats  in 
the  piazza.  Then,  it  being  past  sun- 
set, the  first  illumination  had  begun. 
Lamps  were  hung  around  the  win- 
dows, cornices,  columns,  on  the  dome, 
and  along  the  colonnade,  exhibiting 
the  architecture  of  the  whole  building. 
Then  came  the  grand  blaze  of  the 
second  illumination.  As  the  clock 
struck  one  after  sunset,  a  signal  was 
given  from  the  top  of  the  dome,  and 
on  a  sudden  the  lights  burst  forth  one 
after  another  with  greater  speed  and 
brilliancy  than  those  which  bore  the 
tidings  of  the  capture  of  Troy  from 
the  heights  of  Ida  to  the  home  of 
Agamemnon.  In  three  minutes  the 
whole  building  was  in  a  blaze  of  light, 
and  a  grander  sight  can  scarcely  be 
conceived.  "We  remained  some  time 
longer  in  the  piazza,  and  then  repaired 
to  Monte  Pincio.  The  view  from 
that  spot  was  more  remarkable  still. 


The  dome  appeared  like  a  fabric  of 
glass  illuminated,  and  you  could  take 
in  the  whole  extent  of  St  Peter's  and 
the  Vatican. 

"June  29. — This  was  the  grand  festi- 
val in  honour  of  Eome's  patron  saint, 
the  chief  of  the  Apostles.  At  nine 
o'clock  we  went  to  St  Peter's.  The 
arrangements  the  same  as  on  the  eve. 
The  Pope  came  with  a  gorgeous 
canopy  of  crimson  velvet  over  his 
head.  Part  of  the  chanting  was  gone 
through ;  then  they  changed  his  dress, 
and  a  procession  having  been  formed, 
his  Holiness  proceeded  to  the  high 
altar  and  celebrated  mass.  Passages 
from  the  Gospel  were  read  appro- 
priate to  the  day.  'Thou  art  Peter, 
and  upon  this  rock  I  will  build  my 
Church,'  &c.,  &c.  Also  a  favourite 
hymn — 

'"0  Roma  felix  qum  duorum  Principum 
Es  consecrata  glorioso  sanguine 
Horum  cruore  purpurata  civitas 
Excellis  orbis  una  pulcluitudmein.' 

There  were  golden  statues  of  St  Peter 
and  St  Paul,  and  several  golden 
candlesticks  of  enormous  size  and 
value.  Altogether  it  was  a  very  im- 
posing ceremony.  On  the  Pope's 
leaving  the  church  the  procession 
halted,  and  the  Pope  read  from  about 
the  middle  of  the  nave  a  denunciation 
against  the  King  of  Naples  claiming 
the  Kingdom  as  part  of  the  patrimony 
of  St  Peter.  This  I  am  told  is  done 
annually." 

In  February  1841  I  had  the 
good  fortune  to  dine  and  sleep  at 
Stratfieldsaye,  and  to  see  the  Duke 
of  Wellington  in  his  own  home. 
His  Grace  was  in  the  habit  of  en- 
tertaining, as  Lord  Lieutenant  of 
Hampshire,  the  judges  of  assize 
who  went  the  Western  Circuit. 
I  was  there  in  the  capacity  of 
Marshal  to  Mr  Justice  Erskine. 
A  letter  to  my  mother  relates  these 
particulars : — 

"  On  being  shown  into  the  drawing- 
room,  the  Duke  advanced,  called  me 
by  my  name,  and  shook  hands.  At 
dinner  he  sat  in  the  centre  of  the 
table,  with  Erskine  J.  on  his  right, 


Seventy  Years  at  Westminster. 


[July 


and  Wightnian  J.  on  his  left.  Lord 
Douro  sat  also  in  the  centre,  opposite  to 
his  father.  Lord  Charles,  the  younger 
son,  at  the  head  of  the  table,  and  Mr 
Gerald  Wellesley,  his  nephew,  the 
Rector  of  Stratneldsaye,  at  the  bot- 
tom. We  were  a  party  of  thirty-five, 
comprising  the  M.P.'s  for  Hants  and 
Winchester,  the  Right  Hon.  Sturges 
Bourne,  Sir  John  Cope,  and  sundry 
magistrates  of  Hants  and  Berks. 
Everything  about  one  was  full  of 
historical  associations — the  place,  the 
gift  of  the  nation ;  the  silver  plate 
off  which  we  ate  at  dinner,  presented 
to  Sir  A.  Wellesley  in  1803  for  his 
services  in  India,  and  bearing  on 
them  the  name  of  Assaye,  the  be- 
ginning of  his  career  of  victory  ; 
silver  epergnes  in  the  centre  of 
the  table,  the  gift  of  George  IV.  ; 
a  beautiful  dessert  service,  each  plate 
with  a  separate  view  of  some  scene  or 
view  in  Egypt  from  Denon's  sketches, 
made  for  Napoleon  and  presented  by 
Louis  XVIII.  to  the  hero  of  Waterloo. 
The  house  is  not  at  all  comparable 
to  Blenheim  ;  but  the  sight  of  all  was 
to  see  the  master  of  the  house  exhibit- 
ing the  vigour  and  animation  of  his 
earlier  days,  looking  a  little  paler 
than  he  did  a  fortnight  ago,  but  still 
far  better,  I  think,  than  he  has  done 
for  nearly  two  years.  He  is  feeble 
when  he  walks,  but  seeing  him  seated, 
you  would  never  believe  that  you  saw 
before  you  the  hero  of  a  hundred 
battles.  He  was  dressed  in  tights, 
with  the  Garter  round  the  left  leg, 
and  its  broad  blue  ribbons  across  his 
white  waistcoat,  with  a  Waterloo 
medal  hanging  from  a  red  collar,  and 
a  star  on  his  breast. 

"  We  spent  some  time  before  break- 
fast with  the  l)uke  in  the  conserva- 
tory. He  talked  about  the  battle  of 
Vittoria,  of  which  there  was  a  picture 
in  one  of  the  rooms.  One  of  the 
judges  asked  him  what  he  thought 
of  Siborn's  model  of  the  battle  of 
Waterloo.  He  said  :  '  That  is  a  ques- 
tion which  I  have  often  been  asked, 
to  which  I  don't  give  an  answer, 
because  I  don't  want  to  injure  the 
man.  But  if  you  want  to  know  my 
opinion,  it's  all  farce,  fudge  !  They 
went  to  one  gentleman  and  said, 
"  What  did  you  do  1"  "I  did  so  and 
so."  To  another,  "  What  did  you 


do  ? "  "I  did  such  and  such  a  thing." 
One  did  it  at  ten  and  another  at 
twelve,  and  they  have  mixed  up  the 
whole.  The  fact  is,  a,  battle  is  like  a 
ball ;  they  keep  footing  it  all  the  day 
through.'  At  breakfast  each  guest 
had  before  him  two  brown  Rocking- 
ham  teapots,  the  upper  one  containing 
tea  forming  a  cover  to  the  lower  one, 
which  held  water.  The  Duke  asked 
each  guest  separately  whether  he 
would  have  black  tea  or  green,  and 
the  teapot  was  brought  accordingly. 
After  breakfast  there  was  a  meet  of 
Sir  John  Cope's  hounds.  They  threw 
off,  leaving  the  judges  and  marshals 
to  go  to  Winchester  and  his  Grace  to 
return  to  town." 

I  may  here  quote,  too,  from  a 
letter  to  my  mother,  from  Vienna, 
dated  September  24,  1843,  giving 
an  account  of  another  group  of 
historic  characters  connected  with 
the  Napoleonic  wars  : — 

"  We  went  to  a  review  on  Monday. 
It  was  a  splendid  affair.  The  Em- 
peror (Ferdinand),  Empress,  Empress 
Mother,  Archduke  Charles,  &c.,  were 
present.  There  were  17,000  men 
present.  The  day  was  glorious  ;  we 
had  a  capital  position  in  our  carriage, 
commanding  a  view  of  the  whole  field 
— of  course  at  some  distance,  but  we 
could  see  very  well.  The  troops  were 
principally  infantry.  When  all  was 
over,  we  drew  up  and  saw  the  old 
Archduke  Charles  capitally.  The  old 
veteran  carries  one  back  to  the  last 
century,  and  although,  regarded  his- 
torically, he  appears  older  than  our 
duke,  he  is,  in  fact,  about  twelve 
months  younger.  We  saw  him  after- 
wards at  Schonbrunn  with  three  of 
his  sons,  nice-looking  young  fellows. 
I  have  seen  besides  another  historical 
personage,  in  herself  a  contemptible 
creature,  the  wife  of  Napoleon  and 
mother  of  the  King  of  Rome,  the  ex- 
Empress  Marie  Louise.  She  is  a 
plain  old  woman,  and  looks  older  than 
she  is.  Being  fifty-four,  she  looks  full 
sixty.  I  was  not  close  enough  to  see 
the  Kaiser  personally — the  poor  man 
is  so  imbecile  there  is  not  much  to 
see  ;  but  I  have  seen  his  mother,  the 
widow  of  the  late  Emperor  Francis — 


1898.] 


Seventy  Years  at  Westminster. 


15 


a  nice  old  lady  whom  to  look  on  is  to 
love — and  his  brother  the  Archduke 
Francis,  the  heir-presumptive  to  the 
throne,  and  his  Archduchess  and  their 
two  sons." 

The  sons  present  that  day,  boys  of 
thirteen  and  eleven,  subsequently 
became  —  the  elder,  Francis 
Joseph,  the  present  Emperor  of 
Austria ;  and  the  younger,  the 
unfortunate  Maximilian,  Emperor 
of  Mexico. 

The  next  year  (June  5,  1844) 
I  was  present  at  a  review  of  the 
Household  Regiments  in  Windsor 
Park,  where  I  saw  another  Em- 
peror, the  Czar  Nicholas  of  Russia, 
then  on  a  visit  to  the  Queen.  It 
was  a  brilliant  scene,  with  the 
royalties  and  the  Czar  and  the 
Duke  of  Wellington  in  uniform  ; 
Sir  R.  Peel  mounted,  and  in  plain 
clothes.  I  afterwards  had  the 
opportunity  of  observing  the  Czar 
and  Sir  R.  Peel  in  an  oriel  window 
of  the  Castle  overlooking  the  ter- 
race, in  close  converse,  possibly 
discussing  the  fate  of  the  Sick 
Man.  The  Czar  made  a  tre- 
mendous impression  on  me.  A 
magnificent  and  princelike  figure, 
6  feet  3  high,  in  the  prime  of  life, 
with  a  frank  open  expression  of 
features,  and  a  chivalrous  de- 
portment, the  very  type  and 
embodiment  of  majesty  —  uro(9eos 
<£o>s.  Eleven  years  after,  when 
the  news  of  his  death  reached 
the  House  of  Commons,  I  ex- 
changed a  few  words  in  the 
lobby  with  Mr  Gladstone,  who 
referred  to  the  sight  of  the 
Emperor  as  he  beheld  him  in 
1844,  and  spoke  of  him  in  the 
highest  terms  of  admiration  as 
the  most  magnificent  specimen  of 
a  man  he  had  ever  beheld. 

Although  an  outsider,  I  took 
the  keenest  interest  in  everything 
which  happened  in  the  political 
world.  As  a  humble  individual 
I  regretted  in  1841  that  the  policy 


of  Protection  formed  such  a  prom- 
inent cheval  de  bataille  at  the  elec- 
tions. No  doubt  it  increased  our 
majority  in  the  counties.  But 
Sir  Robert  Peel  had  led  us  from 
the  depression  of  1832  to  the 
crowning  victory  of  1841  on  the 
great  principle  of  resistance  to 
organic  change,  and  with  that  he 
promised  to  find  remedies  for 
proved  abuses,  and  to  promote 
all  well-considered  reforms.  This 
was  a  lofty  and  patriotic  policy. 
Important  as  I  recognised  it  to  be 
to  uphold  the  agricultural  interest, 
I  was  not  prepared  to  fight  at  all 
hazards  on  behalf  of  laws  regulat- 
ing the  price  of  corn,  and  dating 
from  1816.  I  watched  the  agita- 
tion and  followed  the  arguments 
from  year  to  year,  and  when  Sir 
Robert  Peel  ceased  to  insist  on 
the  argument  founded  on  the  inde- 
pendence of  the  country  for  a  supply 
of  food,  I  thought  that  the  game 
was  up.  I  was  therefore  already  a 
convinced  adherent  and  a  staunch 
supporter  of  the  policy  of  Repeal 
in  1846.  In  my  judgment  no 
charge  of  treachery  can  be  main- 
tained, and  the  change  of  opinion 
was  honest.  But  we  may  regret 
that  Sir  Robert  had  not  taken  his 
supporters  sooner  into  his  confi- 
dence and  "educated"  his  party. 
And  I  am  sure  we  all  rejoiced  in 
the  troublous  times  of  1848  that 
the  question  of  cheap  bread  was 
no  longer  before  the  country. 

Lord  Aberdeen  was  Prime  Min- 
ister when  I  entered  Parliament 
as  M.P.  for  Durham  city  in  1853. 
The  Aberdeen  Government  was  a 
Coalition  Government  in  the  strict 
and  odious  sense  of  the  term, — 
such  a  Coalition  as  "  England  does 
not  love."  Notoriously,  it  was  the 
result  of  intrigues  whereby  the 
Peelites,  who  certainly  brought 
many  able  men,  were  to  have  the 
full  share  of  the  spoils  of  office, 
while  Lord  John  Russell  was  to 


16 


Seventy  Years  at  Westminister. 


[July 


bring  the  votes.  The  country 
generally  was  not  prepared  to 
see  Lord  Aberdeen  at  the  head 
of  the  Government.  But  the 
Peelites  were  determined  that  the 
Prime  Minister  should  be  found 
in  their  ranks,  and  Mr  Gladstone's 
time  had  not  yet  come.  Moreover, 
Lord  Aberdeen  was  a  persona  grata 
ut  Court,  and  had  been  a  leading 
member  of  several  Administra- 
tions. But  he  was  regarded  as 
a  Minister  for  Foreign  Affairs, 
and  had  not  occupied  that  com- 
manding position  in  the  country 
or  in  Parliament  which  seemed  to 
qualify  him  for  the  highest  post 
under  the  Crown. 

The  member  for  the  city  of 
Durham,  who  had  been  elected  at 
the  general  election  in  1852,  died 
shortly  afterwards.  At  the  by- 
election  Lord  Adolphus  Vane  was 
the  successful  candidate ;  but  he 
was  unseated  on  petition,  and  it 
was  then,  in  the  ^  Conservative 
interest,  and  with  the  influence  of 
the  Londonderry  family,  that  I 
was  elected.  When  I  came  up  to 
town  to  take  my  seat,  by  some 
accident  the  return  had  not 
arrived,  and  for  one  whole  night 
I  had  to  sit  under  the  gallery. 
One  of  the  first  to  congratulate  me 
was  my  old  Oxford  friend  Roun- 
dell  Palmer.  Mr  Crowder  came 
up,  and  after  greeting  me  with 
lofty  dignity,  added,  "  Oh,  but 
you  know  there's  a  petition  against 
you,  and  you'll  be  unseated." 
Sir  Alexander  Cockburn,  then 
Attorney-General,  came  up,  and 
in  his  frank  genial  way  said : 
"  Glad  to  see  you  here,  my  dear 
fellow.  Our  people  talk  about  a 
petition,  but  don't  mind  them,  it 
will  come  to  nothing."  As  a 
matter  of  fact,  there  was  a  talk  of 
a  petition,  but  nothing  came  of  it. 
The  next  day  I  took  my  seat, 
introduced  by  Sir  John  Yarde 
Buller  and  Sir  Robert  Harry 


Inglis,  the  representatives  of  my 
own  native  county  and  my  own 
University,  and  of  the  undiluted 
Toryism  of  my  boyhood  and  my 
undergraduate  days.  A  remark- 
able bit  of  luck  attended  me  soon 
after.  I  was  audacious  enough  to 
divide  the  House  on  the  third 
reading  of  the  Charitable  Trusts 
Bill,  August  8,  1853,  and  I  was  so 
fortunate  as  to  beat  the  Aberdeen 
Government.  It  is  thus  recorded 
in  Hansard  : — 

"Lord  John  Kussell  proposed  that 
the  clause  relating  to  exemptions 
be  so  altered  as  to  exclude  the  Uni- 
versity of  Durham  from  its  opera- 
tions. .  .  .  Mr  Mowbray  said  the 
cases  of  the  Durham  and  London 
Universities  were  very  dissimilar,  the 
former  being  regulated  in  accordance 
with  the  provisions  of  an  Act  of 
Parliament. 

"House  divided.  Ayes  65,  Noes 
70  ;  majority  5." 

This  little  fluke  obtained  for  the 
new  M.P.  some  credit  from  his 
constituents  at  large. 

I  was  present  at  the  naval  review 
at  Spithead,  August  1 1  in  the  same 
year.  There  have  been  many  re- 
views since,  which  I  have  seen ; 
but  there  has  never  been  any  one 
equal  as  a  spectacle  to  what  we 
then  witnessed.  There  were 
twenty -five  ships  of  war:  six  of 
the  line  propelled  by  steam,  three 
sailing  -  ships  of  the  line,  and 
the  steam  frigates  and  sloops.  The 
"  enemy "  were  represented  by 
three  sailing-ships,  Prince  Regent, 
London,  and  Queen,  and  other 
sailing-ships  which  were  anchored 
at  sea  some  distance  from  Spit- 
head.  The  Queen  and  Prince 
Albert,  on  board  the  Duke  of  Wel- 
lington, went  out  in  pursuit  of  the 
enemy.  The  Lords  and  Commons 
(the  latter  on  the  Bulldog)  followed 
with  the  rest  of  the  steam  fleet, 
then  put  in  requisition  for  the  first 
time.  We  encountered  the  enemy, 


1898.] 


Seventy  Years  at  Westminster. 


17 


and  a  regular  engagement  ensued, 
with  great  expenditure  of  powder. 
The  Bulldog  was  in  the  thick  of 
the  fight.  It  was  a  most  exciting 
scene,  and  a  great  contrast  to 
what  is  now  exhibited  when  vessels 
carrying  the  spectators  move  slowly 
along  the  line,  while  the  magni- 
ficent navy  of  Great  Britain  re- 
mains stationary,  as  idle  as  "a 
painted  ship  upon  a  painted  ocean." 
We  returned  to  town  by  a  train 
timed  for  the  House  to  meet  at 
10  P.M.  But  a  curious  contre- 
temps occurred.  The  first  part  of 
the  train,  carrying  the  Speaker, 
Lord  Palmerston,  and  a  large 
number  of  members,  of  whom  I 
was  one,  arrived  punctually.  The 
second  part  carried  the  officer  of 
the  House,  who  had  with  him  the 
key  of  the  cupboard  in  which  the 
mace  was  kept.  That  did  not 
arrive  until  11  P.M.  For  an  hour 
members  were  kept  waiting.  No 
House  could  be  made  without  a 
mace.  Inquiries  were  made  in 
every  quarter — in  the  House  of 
Lords  first  and  afterwards  else- 
where— but  no  mace  of  any  sort 
or  kind  could  be  obtained.  Mem- 
bers waited  for  an  hour  in  remark- 
able costumes,  and  at  last  the 
necessary  business  was  soon  trans- 
acted. 

The  year  1854  provided  Parlia- 
ment with  work  for  two  sessions. 
First  it  had  a  Reform  Bill  intro- 
duced by  Lord  John  Russell  with 
a  flourish  of  trumpets  on  February 
13,  and  bearing  on  its  back  the  au- 
spicious names  of  Lord  John  him- 
self and  of  Sir  James  Graham,  the 
authors  of  the  first  Reform  Act  of 
1832.  But  the  introduction  of 
such  a  bill  at  such  a  moment  did 
not  please  Lord  Palmerston,  or 
commend  itself  to  the  common- 
sense  of  the  House  or  the  country. 
On  April  11  it  was  abandoned  by 
its  authors.  Lord  John,  who  had 
charge  of  it,  was  affected  by  deep 

VOL.  CLXIV. — NO.  DCCCCXCIII. 


emotion  when  he  announced  its 
abandonment.  He  paused  in  his 
speech,  and  was  loudly  and  re- 
peatedly cheered  by  both  sides  of 
the  House,  because  all  sympathised 
with  his  motives,  although  they  had 
no  tears  to  shed  over  the  unhappy 
bantling. 

On  March  6  came  the  wondrous 
episode  of  the  great  Budget,  which 
revealed  the  light-hearted  way  in 
which  the  Government  of  the  good 
Aberdeen  drifted  into  the  Russian 
war.  We  were  told  the  Govern- 
ment hoped  it  would  not  be  a  pro- 
longed struggle,  and  we  were  asked 
to  vote  a  sum  of  £1,250,000  for 
extraordinary  military  service,  to 
provide  25,000  men,  being  at  the 
rate  of  £50  per  head.  This  was  met 
by  doubling  the  income-tax,  then 
standing  at  7d.,  for  six  months  only. 
And  we  were  comforted  by  the 
assurance  that  the  amount  was 
the  smallest  by  which,  under  the 
most  favourable  circumstances,  we 
could  hope  to  see  the  gallant  forces 
leaving  our  shores  brought  back 
after  the  completion  of  the  object 
for  which  they  were  sent.  So  that 
a  Cabinet  of  all  the  talents  actually 
contemplated  putting  an  end  to 
the  ascendancy  of  the  Czar  and  the 
establishment  of  the  integrity  and 
independence  of  the  Ottoman 
empire,  at  a  cost  of  a  million  and 
a  quarter,  and  after  a  six  months' 
campaign.  Of  course  we  had  an- 
other Budget  in  May,  and  the  de- 
mands grew,  until  in  December  we 
found  that  the  job  was  not  to  be 
done  without  enlisting  foreign 
mercenaries.  Meanwhile  tidings 
from  the  Crimea  had  deeply  stirred 
the  heart  of  the  nation.  The  vic- 
tory at  the  Alma,  the  slaughter  at 
Balaclava,  the  tremendous  struggle 
at  Inkerman,  enabled  a  generation 
unused  to  war  to  realise  in  some 
measure  what  war  meant.  And 
the  House  met  for  the  winter  ses- 
sion in  a  stormy  mood.  There  were 


18 


Seventy  Years  at  Westminster. 


[July 


vacant  places  on  our  own  benches. 
Two  familiar  faces,  one  on  either 
side,  Colonel  Boyle  and  Colonel 
Blair,  were  there  no  more.  They 
were  numbered  among  the  dead. 
And  I  can  never  forget  the  pa- 
thetic reference  to  their  fate  in 
Mr  Bright's  magnificent  speech  of 
December  22.  When  we  separ- 
ated at  Christmas,  it  was  obvious 
to  many  that  the  Coalition  Govern- 
ment was  doomed. 

One  measure  which  passed  into 
a  law  that  year  was  the  Oxford 
University  Reform  Act.  Read  a 
second  time  on  April  2,  it  occu- 
pied so  long  a  time  in  Committee 
that  it  did  not  reach  the  third 
reading  until  June  29.  On  the 
second  reading  two  men  with  a 
long  parliamentary  career  before 
them  made  speeches  which  at- 
tracted much  attention  :  one  was 
Mr  Byng,  afterwards  Viscount 
Enfield  and  Earl  of  Strafford  ;  the 
other  Lord  Robert  Cecil,  now 
Marquis  of  Salisbury.  The  first 
received  many  compliments  both  in 
the  House  and  from  friends  out 
of  doors.  Mr  Disraeli  remarked 
to  me  a  few  days  afterwards : 
"  You  heard  two  speeches  the 
other  night — one  by  Byng,  who 
has  received  so  many  congratula- 
tions in  the  House,  and  letters 
from  all  the  duchesses  and  coun- 
tesses in  London  ;  the  other  by 
Robert  Cecil.  You  will  not  hear 
much  of  the  first ;  the  latter  has 
made  his  mark  as  a  real  debater, 
and  will  become  a  considerable 
man."  The  prediction  was  veri- 
fied. Lord  Enfield  was  an  excel- 
lent Under  Secretary  for  Foreign 
Affairs.  Lord  Salisbury  has  been 
three  times  Prime  Minister  of 
England. 

We  met  in  January  in  no  mood 
to  be  trifled  with.  The  privations 
and  sufferings  of  our  gallant  troops 
had  profoundly  impressed  men  of 
all  shades  of  opinion.  Mr  Roe- 


buck gave  notice  of  a  motion  for 
a  Select  Committee  to  inquire  into 
the  condition  of  our  army  before 
Sebastopol,  and  into  the  conduct 
of  the  departments  of  the  Govern- 
ment whose  duty  it  had  been  to 
minister  to  the  wants  of  that  army. 
As  soon  as  notice  was  given,  Lord 
John  Russell  resigned  his  post  as 
Lord  President  of  the  Council,  as 
he  could  not  resist  the  motion — 
a  resignation  which  he  afterwards 
reconsidered,  with  the  result  that 
he  remained  in  office  until  July. 
Mr  Roebuck  stated  that  although 
we  had  sent  out  54,000  men,  the 
effective  force  was  only  14,000. 
He  brought  forward  his  motion  on 
January  26.  The  House  respond- 
ed with  alacrity,  and  put  an  end 
to  the  Coalition  Government,  by 
a  majority  of  more  than  2  to  1  : — 


Ayes  for  Roebuck 
Noes  for  Government 


305 

148 


Majority  against  Government    157 

Lord  Palmerston  became  Prime 
Minister,  all  the  stronger  because 
he  was  supreme  in  his  own  Cabinet, 
not  hindered  by  half-hearted  col- 
leagues. The  Queen,  the  Parlia- 
ment, and  the  country  were  con- 
fident that  he  would  prosecute  the 
war  with  vigour  and  energy,  bring 
it  to  a  safe  conclusion,  and  obtain 
a  just  and  honourable  peace.  The 
session  passed,  upon  the  whole, 
with  a  fair  amount  of  tranquillity  ; 
only  one  little  incident  clouded 
the  otherwise  serene  atmosphere. 
On  July  20  theGovernment  brought 
forward  a  resolution  for  a  joint 
guarantee  by  England  and  France 
of  the  interest  on  a  loan  of 
£5,000,000  to  the  Turkish  Govern- 
ment. The  result  was  in  the  nature 
of  a  surprise.  An  advance  of 
£2,000,000  to  Sardinia  had  already 
passed  without  opposition.  But 
the  Turkish  loan  found  no  favour. 
Men  of  weight  on  both  sides  op- 


1898.] 


Seventy  Tears  at 


19 


posed    it.       It    was    carried    by   a 
majority  of  3  only  : — 


Ayes 

Noes 


135 
132 


No  one  knew  at  the  moment  how 
serious  the  consequences  of  this 
vote  might  have  been,  I  have  no 
recollection  of  any  special  Whip. 
I  strolled  down  from  the  Carlton 
after  dinner,  as  a  matter  of  course, 
listened  to  the  debate,  and  voted 
against  the  Government,  with  no 
intention  whatever  of  embarrassing 
Lord  Palmerston  or  hindering  the 
prosecution  of  the  war ;  but  we 
found  next  day  that  had  the  vote 
been  otherwise,  an  immediate  dis- 
solution wouid  have  followed.  Lord 
Palmerston  would  have  carried^the 
country  with  him  in  1855  even 
more  than  he  did  in  1857,  and 
his  opponents  of  all  shades  of 
opinion — Conservatives,  Peelites, 
and  Radicals — would  have  been 
scattered  to  the  winds. 

The  session  of  1856  began  in 
February,  and  ran  its  tranquil 
course  until  July.  Peace  was  in 
the  air  when  we  met,  and  was 
already  a  fait  accompli,  although 
the  Treaty  of  Paris  was  not  signed 
until  March  30,  and  the  ratifica- 
tions were  exchanged  a  month 
later.  The  peace  was  regarded  as 
coming  a  little  too  early  for  us,  and 
must  have  been  arranged  rather  to 
suit  the  views  of  our  ally  the 
Emperor  of  the  French,  so  that  it 
was  not  welcomed  with  the  joy 
which  generally  accompanies  such 
an  event.  The  only  important 
legislation  of  the  year  was  an  act 
authorising  the  resignation  of  the 
sees  of  London  and  Durham  by 
Bishops  Blomfield  and  Maltby, 
the  act  which  established  a  pre- 
cedent for  future  legislation  by 
which  all  bishops  of  the  Church 
of  England  were  enabled  to  resign 
their  sees. 

The   session  of  1857  began  on 


February  3  and  ended  on  March 
20.  During  the  recess  there  had 
been  a  certain  approximation  be- 
tween the  regular  Opposition  and 
the  Peelites.  We  heard  much  of 
the  "  turbulent  and  aggressive 
policy  "  of  Lord  Palmerston.  In 
the  early  part  of  the  year  we  had 
constant  controversies  between  Mr 
Gladstone  and  Sir  G.  Cornewall 
Lewis,  in  which  the  former  severely 
criticised  the  financial  policy  of  the 
then  Chancellor  of  the  Exchequer. 
Afterwards  there  were  animated 
debates  in  both  Houses,  when  the 
Government  was  arraigned  for  the 
support  they  had  given  to  the  high- 
handed action  of  an  unpopular 
official,  Sir  John  Bowring,  Governor 
of  Hong-Kong.  There  had  been  a 
dispute  between  him  and  the  Com- 
missioner of  the  Chinese  Govern- 
ment about  the  lorcha  Arrow,  a 
China-built  vessel  which  carried 
the  British  flag  and  claimed  the 
right  to  British  protection,  and  a 
conflict  had  arisen  in  the  Canton 
river.  In  the  Lords  a  motion  by 
Lord  Derby  censuring  the  Govern- 
ment was  defeated  by  a  majority 
of  36:— 


For  Lord  Derby 
Against 


110 
146 


In  our  House,  a  resolution  moved 
by  Mr  Oobden  and  supported  by 
Mr  Disraeli  and  the  bulk  of  the 
Opposition,  by  Mr  Gladstone  and 
Sir  James  Graham,  by  Lord  John 
Russell  and  Mr  Roebuck,  was 
carried  by  a  majority  of  16  : — 


For  Mr  Cobden 
For  the  Government 


263 
247 


On  the  next  day  Lord  Palmer- 
ston announced  that  there  would 
be  an  appeal  to  the  country,  and  a 
dissolution  followed  as  soon  as  pos- 
sible. The  China  dissolution,  as 
it  was  called,  was  a  meirorable 
event.  Mr  Cobden  and  Mr  Bright 
lost  their  seats  for  the  West 


20 


S&oenty  years  at  Westminster. 


[July 


Biding  and  Manchester.  Lord 
John  Russell  himself  held  his 
ground  in  the  City  against  Mr 
Raikes  Currie,  designated  by  him 
as  the  young  man  from  North- 
ampton. Our  ranks  were  sadly 
decimated,  and  Lord  Palmerston 
was  maintained  in  power  with  a 
majority  enormously  increased,  and 
apparently  installed  in  Downing 
Street  for  the  rest  of  his  natural 
life. 

For  the  present  I  leave  Lord 
Palmerston,  the  favourite  of  the 
nation,  victorious  at  the  polls, 
with  forty  years  of  parliamentary 
life  still  before  me. 

It  might  be  asked  at  this  point, 
how  far  the  House  of  Commons  as 
it  was  from  1853  to  1857  differed 
from  the  House  of  the  present 
day  ?  I  know  it  is  the  fashion  to 
say  that  there  is  a  great  decadence 
in  the  tone  and  spirit  as  well  as  in 
the  manners  of  Parliament.  I 
think  this  is  greatly  exaggerated. 
Every  Parliament  has  its  own 
special  characteristics,  which  de- 
pend to  some  extent  upon  the 
circumstances  under  which  it  came 
into  existence,  the  authority  of 
the  Speaker,  and  the  personal  in- 
fluence of  the  Leader.  The  Par- 
liament of  1832-34  was  doubtless 
much  affected  by  the  excitement 
which  prevailed  during  the  Reform 
agitation  of  the  two  preceding 
years.  The  Parliament  of  1880 
was  turbulent  owing  to  the  un- 
settled state  of  Ireland  and  the 
excitement  among  the  Irish  mem- 
bers within  our  walls.  The  short- 
lived Parliament  of  1885-86  repre- 
sented the  great  change  which  the 
lowering  of  the  county  franchise 
had  made  in  the  rural  constituen- 
cies. But  I  believe  the  spirit 
which  animates  the  House  of 
Commons  as  a  body  is  much  the 
same  now  as  it  has  ever  been — a 
patriotic  spirit,  conscious  of  the 


greaC  traditions  which  it  inherits, 
and  anxious  to  work  for  the  good 
of  the  Empire.  There  is,  and 
always  has  been,  a  very  real  feel- 
ing of  fraternity  within  the  walls 
of  the  House.  If  a  man  is  willing 
to  learn  and  willing  to  work,  he 
is  recognised  as  a  real  recruit  and 
is  welcomed  accordingly.  He 
comes  in  contact  with  other  men, 
he  respects  their  opinions,  he  dis- 
cards some  of  his  old  prejudices, 
he  gradually  falls  into  line,  and 
is  ready  to  associate  himself  with 
his  compatriots  in  the  great  work 
of  legislation.  Mr  Bradlaugh  was 
a  notable  instance  of  a  man  who, 
representing  the  most  advanced 
opinions,  came  in  and  dwelt  among 
us,  and  earned  the  respect  of  all 
by  his  constant  labours  and  the 
honest  and  independent  expres- 
sion of  his  views.  There  may  be 
in  each  Parliament  men  who  come 
only  to  wreck  and  to  obstruct. 
But  they  are  few  in  number  and 
have  no  influence.  They  disap- 
pear and  are  forgotten.  But  the 
sentiment  of  the  House  as  an 
institution  remains  to-day  much 
as  it  was  when  I  first  entered  it. 
Many  changes,  of  course,  there 
have  been.  Some  may  suggest 
that  I  am  riding  my  own  hobby  if 
I  hint  that  members  are  not  quite 
so  willing  as  they  were  to  burden 
themselves  with  the  heavy  work 
that  falls  on  members  who  sit  on 
Committees  —  labours  which  are 
not  much  appreciated  out  of  doors, 
and  of  which  constituents  know 
so  little.  In  old  days  the  county 
members,  the  chairmen  of  quarter 
sessions,  the  "great  unpaid,"  who 
did  so  much  good  and  true  work 
throughout  our  rural  districts 
fell  into  harness  very  easily  and 
readily.  Nowadays,  with  a  larger 
proportion  of  members  whose  time 
is  occupied  with  business  or  pro- 
fessional engagements,  it  becomes 
more  and  more  difficult  to  find 


1898.] 


Seventy  Years  at  Westminster. 


21 


men  who  will  devote  the  hours  of 
midday  to  Committee  work. 

Costumes  vary,  of  course,  with 
members  of  Parliament,  as  they  do 
with  undergraduates  at  the  Uni- 
versity ;  and  the  benches  on  both 
sides  are  thronged  with  men  who 
wear  hats  and  coats  which  would 
have  shocked  Speaker  Denison  in 
1860,  and  brought  down  on  their 
wearers  his  severe  condemnation. 
White  ducks,  on  the  other  hand, 
have  almost  disappeared ;  yet  the 
Duke  of  Wellington  wore  them 
always  in  summer,  and  I  have  seen 
Mr  Secretary  Peel  standing  at  the 
table  so  attired  before  the  Geor- 
gian era  had  ended.  There  is  less 
rhetoric.  Speakers  are  less  pro- 
found and  less  ornate.  Yet  Lord 
Palmerston,  during  all  the  time  he 
was  Prime  Minister,  scarcely  ever 
made  a  great  speech.  What  he 
said  was  addressed  to  the  audi- 
ence and  adapted  to  the  occasion. 
Classical  quotations  are  out  of 
date,  and  our  ordinary  debates  are 
dull  and  commonplace. 

One  really  important  change  the 
House  has  made  is  in  the  hours  it 
keeps.  When  I  entered  it  there 
were  no  rules  to  regulate  its  rising. 
The  House  was  generally  desirous 
of  finishing  the  business  on  the 
paper.  But  we  didn't  sit  very 
late,  as  a  rule.  About  twelve  or 
half-past  Mr  Brotherton,  M.P.  for 
Salford,  used  to  get  up  and  move 
the  adjournment  with  a  face  beam- 
ing with  good  nature.  He  did 
this  so  regularly  that  towards  mid- 
night there  were  always  calls  for 
"  Brotherton !  Brotherton  !  "  And 
very  generally  Brotherton's  appeal 
was  responded  to.  Lord  Palmer- 
ston would  express  a  hope  that 
the  hon.  member  would  not  press 
his  motion  :  "  There  was  just  a 
little  more  business  to  be  done, 
and  it  would  soon  be  got  through." 
And  so  it  was,  and  in  half  an  hour 
or  so  the  House  had  risen. 


This  brings  to  my  recollection  an 
amusing  incident,  also  in  Lord  Pal- 
merston's  leadership.  Mr  Ewart, 
M.P.  for  Dumfries,  brought  for- 
ward a  motion  as  to  the  earlier 
rising  of  the  House.  The  House, 
he  said  with  some  solemnity, 
ought  to  set  an  example  to  the 
rest  of  the  community.  Palmer- 
ston, in  reply,  said  that  the  hon. 
gentleman  told  them  that  the 
House  should  set  an  example  by 
not  keeping  late  hours.  But  there 
might  be  a  difference  of  opinion  as 
to~what  late  hours  were.  He  had 
a  friend,  for  example,  who  had  an 
appointment  with  the  Duke  of 
Wellington.  His  friend  was  what 
might  be  called  a  late  man.  The 
Duke,  as  everybody  knew,  was 
quite  the  reverse.  The  appoint- 
ment was  for  eight  o'clock  in  the 
morning.  He  (Lord  Palmerston) 
said  to  his  friend,  "  How  can  you 
manage  to  keep  it?"  "Oh,"  he 
replied,  "  it's  the  easiest  thing  in 
the  world.  I  shall  take  it  the  last 
thing  before  going  to  bed."  The 
twelve  o'clock  rule,  which  has  now 
become  a  standing  order  of  the 
House,  has  effected  a  great  im- 
provement on  the  state  of  affairs 
which  prevailed  from  1880  to 
1890. 

My  recollections  of  eleven  Par- 
liaments since  I  became  a  member 
of  the  House  of  Commons  group 
themselves  round  the  Speakers 
under  whom  I  have  sat,  and  I  may 
say  something  about  them  here. 

Speaker  Shaw-Lefevre  .  1839-57 

it        Denison    .         .  1857-72 

,,        Brand       .         .  1872-83 

r.        Peel          .          .  1883-95 

ii        Gully        .         .  1895 

Of  Speaker  Lefevre  I  have  vivid 
and  most  charming  recollections. 
He  was  my  country  neighbour, 
residing  at  Heckfield  in  Hamp- 
shire, a  few  miles  from  my  home, 
and  we  used  to  have  long  talks 


22 


Seventy  Years  at  Westminster. 


[July 


about  the  inner  life  of  the  House  of 
Commons.  No  subject  delighted 
him  more.  He  had  been  called  to 
the  Chair  in  1839  by  the  action  of 
the  independent  members.  Goul- 
burn  was  the  nominee  of  the 
Opposition,  and  the  Government 
of  Lord  Melbourne  was  believed 
to  favour  the  candidature  of  Spring- 
Rice  ;  but  Lefevre  carried  the  day. 
He  was  a  very  strong  Speaker. 
We  owe  to  him  greatly  the  con- 
tinuance of  the  authority  which 
still  surrounds  his  successors. 
When  he  came  to  the  Chair 
the  discipline  of  the  House  was 
relaxed,  and  there  was  a  great  want 
of  decorum.  Cock-crowing  and 
other  disorderly  interruptions  had 
been  not  uncommon.  Lefevre 
changed  all  that.  He  was  a 
splendid  man  physically,  and 
looked  every  inch  the  part.  He 
enforced  the  old  rule  which  re- 
quired members  attending  the 
Speaker's  dinners  to  appear  in 
full  dress,  and  thus  revived  the 
dignity  which  rightly  appertains 
to  Mr  Speaker,  as  well  when  he 
occupies  the  Chair  as  in  his  social 
relations  with  members  elsewhere. 
He  was  a  very  popular  Speaker. 
Personally,  he  was  a  delightful 
man,  dignified  and  courteous ;  and 
it  was  always  a  treat  to  spend  a 
few  hours  with  Lord  Eversley  in 
his  library  at  Heckfield,  looking  on 
those  terrace  gardens  which  were 
laid  out  with  exquisite  taste  and 
kept  up  in  perfect  order. 

Speaker  Denison  succeeded  to  a 
House  that  had  reached  smoother 
water ;  order  was  respected,  and 
his  authority  was  acknowledged 
and  loyally  accepted.  Mr  Evelyn 
Denison  had  a  fine  appearance.  In 
natural  ability,  certainly,  he  was 
second  to  none.  He  belonged  to  a 
most  distinguished  family.  He 
maintained,  in  all  respects,  the 
dignity  of  the  Chair. 


If  Lefevre  and  Denison  were 
distinguished  for  their  command- 
ing presence,  Sir  Henry  Brand 
was  not  equally  fortunate,  but  he 
ingratiated  himself  with  the 
House  by  his  suavity.  He  held 
the  reins  with  a  light  hand,  and 
sometimes,  perhaps,  hesitated  too 
long  before  taking  the  initiative ; 
yet  his  memory  will  ever  be  held 
in  honour  for  his  assertion  of  the 
prerogative  of  the  Chair  on  a 
notable  occasion.  That  was  the 
coup  d'etat,  so  called,  of  January 
1881,  when  on  his  own  authority 
he  put  the  question  and  stopped 
a  debate  which  had  been  pro- 
longed for  nearly  two  days. 

After  Speaker  Brand  came 
Speaker  Peel,  who  is  to  be  re- 
garded as  one  of  the  most  able, 
one  of  the  strongest,  men  who 
ever  filled  the  Chair.  He  had 
great  dignity  and  a  magnificent 
presence.  Whenever  anything 
occurred  which  called  forth  his 
righteous  indignation,  he  awed  and 
impressed  the  House  by  his 
solemn  and  emphatic  utterances. 
I  have  a  profound  admiration  for 
Speaker  Peel.  I  proposed  him 
for  re-election  in  January  1886. 
In  March  1895  I  proposed  Sir 
Matthew  W.  Ridley  as  his  suc- 
cessor, and  in  August  1895  pro- 
posed Mr  Gully,  the  present 
Speaker,  for  re  -  election.  That 
is  surely  a  unique  record.  It 
is  unnecessary  for  me  to  say 
how  excellent  a  Speaker  Mr  Gully 
is.  His  unanimous  re-election  in 
1895  was  a  strong  tribute  to  his 
great  capacity,  and  every  year 
which  has  since  passed  has  only 
added  to  the  respect  which  all 
entertain  for  him.  The  House 
at  large  rejoices  to  know  that  in 
him  they  have  found  a  worthy 
successor  to  the  great  men  who 
have  occupied  the  Chair  in  past 
times. 


1898.] 


Siena* 


23 


SIENA. 


13Y   MRS   OLIPHANT. 


THE   TOWN. 

'  Dal  colle  ove  torregia'e  sicde." 


SIENA  "from  the  hills  where  she 
towers  and  sits  "  is  one  of  the  most 
characteristic  of  Italian  cities.  A 
perfect  example  of  that  delightful 
tradition  of  Tuscany  which  prompts 
every  man  to  place  his  house  on  a 
hill,  perched  the  first  castello  that 
formed  the  beginning  and  citadel 
of  the  city  on  the  highest  of  those 
soft  and  fertile  mounts  which  form, 
with  the  lovely  hollows  and  sunlit 
valleys  between  them,  the  charac- 
teristic landscape  of  Tuscany.  This 
central  group  of  little  hills,  now 
crowned  on  every  point  with 
ancient  towers,  and  in  earlier  days 
still  more  closely  encircled  with 
those  monuments  of  local  pride 
and  power,  is  surrounded  almost 
as  far  as  the  eye  can  see  by  other 
little  hills  in  every  variety  of 
gentle  slope  and  undulation,  which 
makes  one  think  of  "the  little  hills 
like  lambs "  of  the  psalm.  Each 
one  of  them,  almost  without  excep- 
tion, has  its  building,  its  convent, 
its  village,  its  palace,  its  farm- 
house ;  the  learned  and  poetic 
shades  of  Belcaro  distant  among 
the  pines  ;  the  heavy  round  of  the 
Monastero  like  a  fortress,  all  dese- 
crated and  empty,  close  at  hand ; 
the  picturesque  tower  and  cloister 
of  St  Bernardino's  ancient  home ; 
the  Osservanza,  maintaining  its 
few  poor  Franciscan  brothers 
scantily  upon  its  little  height, — 
these  all  encircle  the  mother  city, 
with  many  humble  dwellings  on 
similar  elevations,  amid  all  the 
spring  verdure,  and  the  budding 
vines,  and  the  rising  corn,  which 
slope  downward  on  every  side,  and 
clothe  the  undulations  with  every 


tone  of  green.  A  few  olive-gardens 
give  their  soft  shade  to  the  land- 
scape, and  the  blue  hills  close 
all  around  in  flying  lines  of  dis- 
tance —  soft,  infinite,  unending. 
Monte  Amiata  in  the  south,  Monte 
Maggio  in  the  west,  stand  up 
on  those  long  interlacing  slopes 
which  fill  up  the  circle,  the  braes 
where  the  generous  Chiante  grapes 
are  grown  ;  and  the  soft  heights 
towards  Modena  are  all  deep  velvet 
blue  against  the  cloudless  azure  of 
the  sky. 

It  is  the  kindest,  homeliest  land- 
scape in  spring  and  early  summer, 
when  everything  is  green  :  warm 
so  that  the  traveller  feels  a  genial 
glow;  friendly,  not  exotic,  the  coun- 
try, rustic,  natural,  unsophisti- 
cated ;  the  beautiful  town  tower- 
ing up,  with  all  its  pinnacles  so 
natural  too  ;  the  centre  of  instruc- 
tion and  protection;  the  market- 
place of  all  that  rural  wealth.  Art 
is  a  great  thing,  and  enriches  its 
seat  and  dwelling  as  nothing  else 
can  do ;  but  I  have  a  great  love 
for  the  genial  nature  which  wraps 
and  encloses  all,  taking  no  thought 
for  the  masterpieces  in  chapel  and 
palace,  but  much  for  the  warmth 
of  life,  the  kindly  combinations  of 
town  and  country,  the  cheerful, 
neighbourly  supply  and  demand, 
the  coming  and  going.  There  is  a 
woman  on  her  way  to  the  great 
Easter  festa,  clasping  two  great 
flasks  of  wine,  which  no  doubt  she 
will  leave  at  her  customer's  shop 
before  she  makes  her  way  to  the 
Duomo  to  hear  the  great  Easter 
mass  and  the  music,  and  see  the 
Archbishop  pontificando  in  all  his 


24 


gorgeous  vestures  ;  another  carries 
in  a  cloth  suspended  by  the  four 
corners  a  hat,  with  the  broad  nap- 
ping rims  peculiar  to  Siena,,  in 
creamy  fresh  -  pressed  straw,  no 
doubt  the  work  of  her  own  fingers, 
and  meant  to  pay  for  the  little  in- 
dulgences of  the  festa.  It  is  one 
thing  to  see  bales  of  such  goods 
arriving  at  the  warehouses,  and 
quite  another  to  see  one,  all  crisp 
and  fresh,  and  carefully  protected 
from  the  dust,  travelling  down 
over  the  braes,  carried  by  the 
satisfied  maker  to  the  expectant 
purchaser,  to  bring  a  little  gaiety 
and  fulness  to  the  mezzeria,  the 
little  farmhouse  on  the  hill,  for 
joy  of  Easter  and  the  spring. 

It  has  always  seemed  to  me  that 
the  great  enchantment  of  Italy, 
the  cause  of  that  half-unconscious 
rapture  with  which  the  traveller 
is  filled  he  knows  not  why,  amid 
her  delightful  landscapes,  is  this 
universal  breath  of  life  which  is 
everywhere,  the  sense  of  humanity, 
the  kind  love  and  fellowship  which 
seem  to  dwell  in  those  smiling 
isolated  houses,  each  set  on  its 
hill,  where,  could  we  wander  and 
lose  our  way,  refuge  and  succour 
could  always  be  found.  There  is 
very  little  chance  of  an  English 
tourist  losing  his  way  on  the  good 
Tuscan  roads  about  Siena,  but  the 
danger  is  not  at  all  necessary  to  the 
pleasure  of  the  sentiment.  This 
universal  inhabitation  makes  the 
country  smile,  and  gives  a  friendly 
look  to  every  scene.  And  the 
surroundings  of  Siena  are  very 
friendly.  I  am  not  quite  sure 
that  the  manners  of  the  country- 
side are  so  superexcellent  as  the 
native  guide  suggests,  una  cortesia 
tutto  Sanesi,  or  their  language  so 
admirable  as  a  great  many  critics 
assert,  the  invariable  change  of 
the  c  into  h  being  very  confusing 
to  a  stranger,  and  not  beautiful 
at  all ;  but  I  am  quite  sure  that 
no  kind  look  will  ever  encounter 


Siena.  [July 

an  unkind  one,  or  friendly  greeting 
find  other  than  a  pleasant  response. 
The  children — that  is,  the  little 
boys — are  not  to  be  relied  upon ; 
but  little  boys  fresh  from  school 
are  seldom  agreeable  when  they 
are  in  their  scores  and  the  traveller 
is  but  one. 

The  cathedral  of  Siena  occupies 
the  highest  point  of  the  three 
hills.  According  to  tradition,  in 
the  ages  of  myth  and  mystery  a 
youth  from  that  primeval  Rome 
which  was  not  yet  Home,  the  son 
of  Remo  and  nephew  of  Romolo, 
fled  into  the  wilderness  as  a  con- 
sequence of  some  domestic  differ- 
ences, and  built  himself  a  house 
upon  the  banks  of  the  Tressa. 
His  name  was  Senio,  hence  Senia, 
by  the  most  simple  derivation.  If 
that  is  not  found  satisfactory,  is 
there  not  the  Etruscan  tribe  of 
Galli  Senoni  by  whom  it  might 
have  been  bestowed  ?  I  incline  to 
Senio  because  of  the  wolf,  of  which 
he  must,  no  doubt,  have  brought 
with  him  a  primitive  example, 
suckling  the  immortal  twins,  a 
symbol  which  now  forms  the  arms 
of  the  city,  and  is  to  be  seen 
everywhere.  It  was  named  the 
city  of  the  wolf,  when  it  became 
known  as  a  Roman  colony  in  the 
days  of  Augustus,  and  called  itself 
Sena  Julius,  out  of  compliment  to 
Julius  Csesar.  But  the  interest 
of  Siena  is  entirely  medieval,  be- 
longing to  the  Christian  ages, 
which  indeed  were  the  most  war- 
like of  all  ages,  rent  with  perpetual 
conflict,  yet  affording  in  every  one 
of  those  fierce  little  cities,  which 
built  themselves  round  with  brist- 
ling walls  on  every  available  hill- 
top in  Italy,  a  foothold  for  that  stout 
virtue  of  independence  and  tradi- 
tions of  freedom  which  helped  the 
races  to  grow,  and  kept  a  shelter 
for  every  gentler  art  amid  the 
clang  of  arms  and  war  of  factions. 
A  walled  town  means  not  much 
more  than  a  picturesque  relic  of 


1898.]  Siena. 

the  past  to  us  now,  and  it  is  a 
pious  local  pride  which  preserves 
the  line  unbroken,  and  keeps  the 
peaceful  portals  in  repair,  and 
thus  guards  for  us  the  imagination 
of  a  city  of  refuge,  a  place  of 
shelter  and  defence.  But  what  a 
very  different  thing  it  was  when 
a  dusty  troop,  riding  hard,  horse 
and  man  at  their  last  strain,  toiled 
up  the  slopes  with  the  thunder  of 
the  pursuers  behind  them,  with 
shelter  and  safety  before  and 
murder  and  plunder  behind.  How 
often  was  Dante  in  such  a  party  1 
and  there  his  Matilda  must  have 
ridden,  she  who  was  afterwards 
to  wander  among  the  flowers  of 
Paradise  on  the  banks  of  Lethe, 
but  in  life  was  a  noble  countess, 
bold  and  strong,  Lady  of  Tus- 
cany, the  mate  of  kings.  When 
the  gates  were  thrown  open,  what 
long  breaths  would  be  drawn, 
what  slackening  of  reins,  what 
blessed  sensations  of  relief  !  We 
are  afraid  these  ancient  lines 
would  be  little  defence  for  any 
fugitive  now,  but  then  they  meant 
salvation  to  many  a  weary  band 
and  many  a  forlorn  and  defeated 
hero. 

There  is  no  better  place  to  study 
the  construction  of  a  medieval 
town.  All  the  winding  ways  that 
wander  up  and  down  a  hillside  in 
the  pleasant  ups  and  downs  which 
we  all  know  so  well  are  here  made 
into  paved  streets,  without  any 
attempt  to  straighten  them  out,  to 
level  or  fill  up,  so  that  the  patient 
and  well-trained  horses  of  Siena 
clatter  you  along  the  stony  pave- 
ment, round  and  round  and  up 
and  down,  exactly  in  the  same  line 
as  you  would  have  walked  up  and 
down  had  the  braes  been  innocent 
of  a  house.  Many  of  the  streets  in 
consequence  are  very  steep  :  they 
are  all  tortuous,  winding,  and  nar- 
row ;  they  are  all  strongly  and 
well  paved  and  in  excellent  order, 
no  roughness  of  mending,  no  cause- 


25 


way,  nothing  but  broad  paving- 
stones,  upon  which  the  light  little 
public  carriages  make  a  consider- 
able noise,  though  the  footing  of 
the  horses  upon  them  seems  perfect, 
and  in  a  day  or  two  the  traveller 
no  longer  feels  any  alarm  when  he 
dashes  down  a  stony  precipice  or 
turns  a  sharp  corner.  These  paved 
streets  all  lead  to  a  gate,  of  which, 
when  Siena  was  in  her  glory,  there 
was  a  great  number  (thirty-eight, 
we  think,  as  against  eight  only 
which  survive),  and  give  egress  to 
the  country.  From  behind  the 
high  altars  in  the  church  of  San 
Domenico  there  is  a  delightful 
lesson  to  be  had  in  this  art  of 
city  building.  The  little  valley 
which  lies  between  the  spur  of 
the  hill  upon  which  that  great 
church  is  built  and  the  crowning 
peak  which  bears  the  Cathedral,  lies 
green  before  us  with  all  its  natural 
undulations,  a  breathing-space  in 
the  very  heart  of  the  city.  It 
bears  the  exact  form  of  the  streets 
by  which  we  reach  it,  the  very  in- 
dentations made  by  the  trickle  of  a 
runlet  being  faithfully  copied  in 
the  inclination  of  the  pavement  in 
the  middle,  which,  if  rains  were 
many  in  Siena,  would  carry  its 
trickle  of  moisture  too.  On  the 
other  side  of  the  green  bank  the 
Duomo  climbs  with  all  its  roofs, 
and  the  Campanile  which  forms 
its  apex,  to  the  very  point  of  the 
heights,  which  is  exactly  completed 
by  the  highest  pinnacle  of  that 
balconied  and  machicolated  tower, 
standing  sheer  up,  the  crown  of 
all,  against  the  sky. 

Between  the  cathedral  and  San 
Domenico  the  little  hill  slopes,  all 
green  and  open,  towards  the  level 
of  the  gate  within  which  is  the 
fountain  of  the  Fontebrande — the 
great  fountain  of  the  contrada, 
with  the  washerwomen  busy  at 
their  work  under  the  shady  arches 
which  enclose  it,  and  all  the  little 
commotion  which  marks  the  centre 


26 


Siena. 


[July 


of  the  parish,  where  so  much  of 
the  women's  work  is  done,  and 
most  of  the  parish  gossip  got 
through.  This  spot  is  close  to 
the  little  street  in  which  the  life 
of  St  Catherine,  the  favourite 
saint  of  Siena,  and  one  of  the 
most  distinguished  women  of  her 
own  or  any  age,  was  passed.  There 
is  not  a  little  girl  or  boy  paddling 
at  the  edge  of  the  Fontebrande 
among  the  washerwomen  who  will 
not  rush  to  show  the  traveller  the 
house  of  Caterina :  and  here,  no 
doubt,  she  too  must  have  come  in 
her  early  days,  the  dyer's  daugh- 
ter, in  the  service  of  her  family, 
to  cleanse  linen  and  draw  water, 
like  the  other  maidens  of  the 
contrada.  Up  the  steep  slope  to 
the  church,  and  low  down  to  the 
full-flowing  fountain  at  the  bottom 
of  the  hill,  the  centres  of  life  lie 
close  together  as  they  did  four 
hundred  years  ago  —  the  silent 
great  basilica,  the  home  of  prayer 
and  contemplation,  and  the  peren- 
nial fount  of  pure  water,  the  cheer- 
ful scene  of  labour  and  cleansing, 
the  lowly  active  life  and  the 
spiritual  going  hand  in  hand. 

I  am  not  quite  sure  of  topo- 
graphical accuracy,  nor  is  it  of 
great  importance,  but  I  think 
that  the  third  hill  is  that  of  San 
Francesco,  on  the  western  side  of 
the  town,  another  great,  silent,  and 
solemn  basilica,  in  which  the  im- 
pression of  vast  space  without 
ornament,  unbroken  by  aisles  or 
even  by  chapels  except  those 
against  the  wall,  gives  something 
like  the  effect  of  a  Gothic  cathe- 
dral, though  without  its  variety 
of  clustered  pillars  and  graceful 
arches.  In  San  Francesco  the 
image  of  St  Bernardino  is  sweet 
as  that  of  St  Catherine  in  San 
Domenico.  These  two  great 
churches  stand  just  within  the 
line  of  the  walls  to  east  and  west, 
sentinels  of  the  city,  each  with  its 
native  saint — the  gentle  preacher 


on  one  hand,  the  kind  and  quaint 
old  man,  who  would  not  be  bishop, 
but  only  brother,  the  familiar 
orator  of  the  Campo ;  and,  on 
the  other,  that  more  wonderful 
figure,  the  Ascetic  Maiden,  her 
eyes  half  blinded  with  tears  and 
watching,  except  when  they  shone 
full  like  stars,  pointing  out  to 
Pope  and  politician  the  right  way. 
A  city  is  rich  which  has  such  in- 
habitants dwelling  in  it  for  ever, 
enriching  its  reputation,  making 
it  honourable  among  the  nations. 
Florence  was  greater  than  Siena, 
and  crushed  her  in  later  days,  de- 
positing the  hated  yoke  of  the 
Medicis  upon  her  neck.  But  Flor- 
ence has  no  Catherine,  scarcely  a 
Bernardino,  and  the  glory  of  the 
little  city  on  the  three  hills  is  all 
her  own. 

There  are  no  such  heroic  figures 
of  the  civic  life  to  glorify  the 
Campo,  which  forms  the  central 
point  of  the  town.  This  curious 
square,  which  the  original  builders 
have  treated  as  the  streets  are 
treated,  in  an  exact  adherence,  it 
would  seem,  to  its  original  form 
as  a  slightly  concave  platform  on 
the  hillside,  is  much  higher  at  the 
upper  than  at  the  lower  side;  and 
the  central  space,  paved  with 
small  stones  within  the  broad 
flagged  irregular  circle  which  sur- 
rounds it,  is  rather  in  the  shape 
of  a  fan  or  shell  than  a  round,  and 
slopes  at  a  slight  angle  from  top 
to  bottom — a  shape  which  distin- 
guishes it  among  all  the  public 
squares  of  all  the  cities.  The 
Oampo  is  unique  and  character- 
istic ;  and  though  we  have  just 
said  it  has  no  heroic  figures,  there 
is  one  of  whom  the  great  poet  of 
Italy  gives  us  a  noble  picture, 
worthy  of  the  place  and  surround- 
ings. When  Dante  was  in  Purga- 
tory, and  saw  so  many  souls  in 
those  torments  which  are  full  of 
hope,  and  meant  to  end  in  com- 
plete restoration,  it  happened  to 


1898.]  Siena. 

him  to  encounter  one,  bound  down 
by  the  great  stones  which  were 
the  punishment  of  Pride  in  these 
circles — stones  so  heavy  that  the 
heads  which  had  been  held  most 
high  were  weighed  down  under 
them,  so  as  almost  to  touch  the 
earth  on  which  they  trod,  whom 
the  poet  had  known  in  life,  Oderisi 
of  Gubbio — a  famous  miniaturist 
or  illuminator,  who  had  been  held 
first  in  his  profession.  There  is 
no  passage  in  the  'Divine  Comedy  ' 
better  known  than  that  in  which 
Oderisi  proclaims  the  vanity  of  mor- 
tal fame.  "  Art  not  thou,"  cries 
Dante,  "that  Oderisi,  the  glory  of 
Agobbio  and  of  art?" — to  which 
the  once  proud  artist  answers 
from  the  depths,  shifting  his  bowed 
head  to  throw  a  painful  glance  up- 
ward to  his  old  friend.  "  Brother," 
he  says,  "the  page  is  brighter 
to-day  which  is  drawn  by  Franco 
the  Bolognese  :  the  honour  is  all 
his,  though  still  a  little  mine." 
Before  this  subdued  painter  goes 
another  soul  softly,  weighed  down 
by  his  punishment,  who  points  the 
lesson  still  more  strongly.  Tus- 
cany once  rang  with  his  name,  but 
now  it  is  scarce  whispered  in 
Siena.  Who  is  he  1  Provenzano 
Salvani,  once  tyrant  and  master  of 
Siena,  in  that  proud  day,  when 
Montaperto  was  fought,  and  Siena 
had  her  foot  upon  the  neck  of 
Florence.  "How  is  it,"  cried 
Dante,  doubly  struck  by  the  viru- 
lence of  the  pride  which  had 
helped  to  humiliate  his  own  city, 
"that  such  a  man  was  admitted 
here?"  "When  he  was  most 
glorious,"  says  Oderisi,  "living 
royally  in  the  Campo  of  Siena,  he 
humbled  himself  and  became  a 
beggar  for  the  love  of  a  friend 
whose  ransom  from  the  prison  of 
King  Charles  had  to  be  paid." 
The  story  is  given  more  fully  by  a 
chronicler.  The  ransom  was  ten 
thousand  florins  of  gold,  which  had 
to  be  paid  in  a  month. 


27 


"  When  the  news  came  to  Messer 
Provenzano,  making  him  tremble  for 
his  friends,  he  caused  a  bench  covered 
with  a  carpet  to  be  placed  in  the 
piazza,  and  sitting  there  asked  of  the 
Sienese  abashed  (vergognosamente)  if 
they  would  help  him  in  his  need  with 
a  little  money,  not  forcing  any  man, 
but  humbly  asking  their  help.  And 
when  the  Sienese  saw  their  lord  who 
was  so  proud  a  man  asking  so  kindly, 
they  were  moved  with  pity,  and  each 
one,  according  to  his  means,  gave  his 
aid  :  King  Charles  had  his  money,  and 
the  prisoner  was  released." 

This  is  a  pleasant  recollection 
for  the  Campo.  The  proud  medie- 
val lord,  holding  his  head  so 
high,  who  had  caught  the  reins  of 
government  in  the  city  at  its 
proudest  moment,  but  now  sat 
abashed  at  the  great  doorway  of 
the  Public  palace,  exposed  to  all 
who  passed  by,  to  bear  the  humilia- 
tion of  refusal  perhaps,  and  the 
jeers  of  the  proud  populace,  beg- 
ging for  his  friend.  This  deed 
won  for  him  his  entrance  into 
Purgatory,  instead  of  by  the  darker 
gates,  where  hope  was  left  behind. 
There  is  a  street  named  the  street 
of  Provenzano  Salvani,  not  far  off 
— though  his  name  is  no  longer 
whispered  in  Siena.  But  then  in 
front  of  the  Palazzo  the  dreamer 
may  look  for  him  seated  "tremb- 
ling in  every  vein  " — ashamed  yet 
steadfast,  in  a  still  more  brightly 
coloured  and  highly  animated 
crowd  than  that  which  still  pours 
through  the  Oarnpo.  The  Square 
is  described  in  modern  records  as 
the  place  where  "  se  correva  il 
palio"  The  Palio  is  an  immemo- 
rial race  run  by  a  certain  number 
of  horses,  selected  with  their  riders 
from  each  contrada,  the  race- 
course being  the  flags  of  that  slop- 
ing pavement  round  the  Piazza, 
between  the  houses  and  the  rail 
of  the  central  enclosure.  That 
central  enclosure,  so  curiously 
shaped,  with  little  ribs  running 
from  top  to  bottom,  like  the  sticks 


28 


Siena. 


[July 


of  an  outspread  fan,  is  crowded 
with  people  whose  excitement, 
each  for  his  own  contrada,  and 
the  shouts  of  encouragement  and 
applause  with  which  horses  and 
riders  are  excited  to  exertion  as 
they  gallop  wildly  round  and  round 
(three  times)  the  resounding  flags, 
make  a  scene  of  astonishing  gaiety 
and  tumult  once  a-year.  Unfor- 
tunately, it  happens  in  August, 
and  few  English  travellers  have 
therefore  seen  the  running  of  the 
Palio,  wildest  and  strangest  of 
sports.  Madame  Villari  has  given 
a  very  spirited  description  of  it  in 
one  of  her  Sketches  of  Tuscany. 

Just  above  the  Campo  in  the 
long  line  of  streets  beyond  its  upper 
side  is  a  spot  still  more  central 
than  itself  :  all  the  great  thorough- 
fares of  Siena  meet  in  a  sort  of 
Carrefour  which  bears  the  name 
of  the  Croce  del  Travaglio.  There 
is  no  cross  or  sign  of  one  in  this 
junction  of  the  ways,  nor  even  a 
tradition,  so  far  as  appears,  of  any 
such  symbol ;  but  from  ancient 
times  till  now  the  name  has  re- 
mained with  a  curious  suggestive- 
ness.  Was  it  once  in  unknown 
ages  the  Market  Cross  where  the 
labourers  waited  to  be  hired  as  in 
the  parable  1  No  one  can  tell : 
but  it  is  still  the  Croce  del 
Travaglio  where  all  the  ways 
meet.  It  is  the  centre  of  traffic 
and  life  as  in  the  olden  times, 
though  it  is  the  peaceful  current 
of  work  and  modern  living  which 
flows  through  now.  When  the 
bell  rang  a  stuormo  in  the  ancient 
days,  clanging  wildly  for  the  ap- 
proach of  a  Florentine  army  or 
some  raid  from  the  south,  this 
was  the  point  to  which  every  one 
rushed  for  news  or  counsel  and  to 
receive  their  orders  for  defence, 
while  all  the  gates  were  shut,  and 
all  the  bands  in  motion,  and  every 
man  looked  to  his  arms.  Never 
was  a  city  more  torn  asunder 
within  or  tormented  from  with- 


out than  Siena  in  those  ancient 
days.  Florence,  her  familiar  foe, 
once  for  a  moment  crushed  under 
her  foot  at  Monte  Aperto,  never 
lost  an  opportunity  to  send  out 
a  force  against  her ;  and  the 
c  Diario '  of  events  is  little  but 
a  succession  of  attacks,  now  from 
one  quarter,  now  from  another, 
which  kept  the  city  perpetually 
on  the  alert.  If  there  occurred 
a  lull  by  any  chance  in  these 
assaults,  the  lively  citizens  turned 
to  their  feuds  at  home,  and 
changed  their  government  or 
pulled  down  their  head  with  the 
concentration  of  passion  and  viru- 
lence which  only  seems  possible 
within  the  walls  of  a  town,  where 
every  family  is  closely  pressed 
against  its  neighbour,  and  nobody 
can  put  forth  a  foot  without 
treading  upon  some  privilege  or 
pretension. 

Siena  is  orderly  as  the  most 
patriotic  citizen  could  desire  now  : 
it  is  prosperous,  busy,  full  of  life 
and  movement,  a  clean  and  lively 
town,  without  smells  or  rubbish, 
well  governed  and  well-doing.  It 
is  all  the  more  curious  to  find  that 
the  Croce  del  Travaglio  is  still  the 
centre  of  the  place,  though  never 
a  Cross  has  stood  there,  nor  any 
symbol  we  know  of,  to  mark  the 
popular  place  of  meeting.  Charing 
Cross  was  never  so  bare  of  memo- 
rial, though,  to  be  sure,  Charing 
Cross  is  a  wide  space,  whereas  the 
Cross  of  labour  is  not  much  bigger 
than  the  space  on  which  Nelson's 
monument  stands,  and  holds  as  in 
a  knot  the  three  stormy  confluents 
of  the  streets,  torrents  rather, 
mid-way  in  their  career  from  the 
heights  above  to  the  gates  below. 

This  is  the  aspect  of  the  modern 
city  :  its  streets  are  lined  with  the 
old  palaces  of  the  many  warlike 
races  who  found  their  headquar- 
ters in  Siena, — great  noble  squares 
of  building  with  Gothic  windows, 
fine  courtyards,  and  noble  suites 


1898.]  Siena. 

of  rooms,  now  almost  invariably 
subdivided,  the  piano  nobile,  or 
first  floor,  being  reserved  by 
the  family,  which  in  some  cases 
still  retains  its  original  dwelling, 
though  many  have  changed  hands. 
There  still  frowns  the  lofty  dwell- 
ing from  which  that  Pia  of  the 

c5 

Tolomei  whom  Dante  met  in  Pur- 
gatory may  have  looked  forth  in 
her  peaceful  days  before  her  jeal- 
ous husband  sent  her  into  the 
Maremma  to  die.  And  then  the 
Piccolomini  still  retain,  to  their 
name  at  least  if  no  more,  the 
mansion  to  which  their  great 
ornament  and  pride,  Eneas  Syl- 
vius, Pope  Pius  II.,  added  the 
"Loggia  del  Papa,"  dedicated  to 
"  his  own  people,"  gentilibus  suis. 
This  great  and  picturesque  per- 
sonage was,  as  will  be  hereafter 
seen,  one  of  the  great  glories  of 
Siena,  and  is  nobly  illustrated 
here  in  various  ways.  He  is  per- 
haps the  only  citizen  of  Siena  who 
can  be  identified,  like  Catherine 
and  like  Bernardino,  though  we 
can  scarcely  give  to  Eneas  Syl- 
vius the  philosopher  and  poli- 
tician the  character  of  a  saint. 
There  are  other  Popes,  but  none 
of  so  much  note  (the  Chigi,  we 
think,  claim  two) ;  and  the  house 
of  the  Magnifico  Baldasaare  Per- 
uzzi,  one  of  the  short-lived  poten- 
tates who  seized  for  a  moment  the 
reins  of  power  in  Siena,  still  bears 
his  name,  though  little  more  is 
known  of  him.  It  is  a  curious 
commentary  upon  greatness,  that 
among  all  those  palaces  built  to 
the  honour  of  a  name,  and  form- 


29 


ing  the  home  of  a  race,  there  is 
no  house  in  Siena  so  completely 
to  be  identified  still,  with  all  its 
humble  uses,  as  the  house  of 
the  dyer  in  Fontebranda  in  the 
little  street  near  San  Domenico, 
where  yet  the  traces  of  the  fam- 
ily life  of  the  fourteenth  century 
can  be  made  out  even  under  all 
the  bewildering  array  of  altars, 
chapels,  and  oratories  under  which 
they  are  hidden. 

"  Oh  vanagloria  dell'  umane  posse 
Com'  poco  verde  in  su  la  cima  dura," 

says  the  poet.  But  yet  the  human 
sentiment  which  keeps  in  cher- 
ished recollection  the  kitchen  of 
the  tanner's  house,  the  family 
room  above  it,  the  recognisable 
scene  of  a  thrifty  burgher's  life 
four  hundred  years  ago,  is  not  a 
thing  which  lasts,  or  counts  for 
little,  in  the  memory  of  the  world. 
The  emulations  die  away,  and  we 
smile  to  think  that  Cimabue  no 
longer  holds  the  field,  but  that 
Giotto  has  all  the  cry.  They  are 
both  long  swept  away  upon  the 
tide  of  time,  but  the  names  of 
both  still  last  green  upon  the 
height,  and  both  are  remembered 
together.  Yet  neither  secure  so 
warm  a  hold  upon  the  popular 
heart  as  the  saintly  maiden  who 
lit  the  fires  and  swept  the  floors  in 
the  tanner's  house,  and  climbed  the 
gentle  slope  to  San  Domenico,  the 
home  of  her  spiritual  life,  where 
many  a  soft-hearted  heretic  from 
the  ends  of  the  earth  climbs  after 
her,  tender  of  the  very  traces  of  her 
steps  as  of  those  of  a  dear  friend. 


EARLY    HISTORY. 


The  early  history  of  Siena  is 
even  more  tumultuous,  if  that  is 
possible,  than  the  history  of  the 
other  turbulent  cities  of  Italy,  in 
which  the  incessant  struggle  for 
the  upper  hand,  carried  on  in  the 


first  place  by  one  patrician  family 
against  the  others,  then  by  the 
nobles  against  the  people,  and  per- 
haps underneath  all  by  a  dim  ideal 
of  perfect  government  to  be  got 
at  somehow,  surged  up  in  every 


30 


Siena. 


[July 


generation  of  hot  brains,  and  kept 
the  little  commonwealth  from  every 
possibility  of  settling  down.  Siena 
was  of  the  Ghibelline  party  through 
all  the  struggles  of  the  world  over 
that  matter,  yet  nevertheless  broke 
a  victorious  spear  against  no  less 
great  an  opponent  than  Barba- 
rossa,  when  the  Emperor  assailed 
her  liberties.  Nearly  two  hundred 
years  later,  in  1369,  Charles  IY. 
attempted  to  take  possession  of  the 
city,  sending  in  a  band  of  eight 
hundred  free  lances,  the  soldiers  of 
fortune  who  then  devastated  Italy, 
to  occupy  the  Piazza  del  Campo 
and  overawe  the  burghers.  The 
great  family  of  the  Salimbeni  was 
on  the  Emperor's  side,  and  the  com- 
munity was  thus  weakened  with- 
in while  so  formidably  assailed  with- 
out. But  when  the  bells  sounded 
a  stuormo,  from  the  seat  of  the 
magistracy,  the  Palazzo  Pubblico, 
which  con  tern  plated  from  all  its  win- 
dows that  fierce  crowd  of  troopers 
yet  did  not  falter,  the  citizens 
arming  in  haste  came  rushing  down 
every  steep  street  to  the  Oroce  del 
Travaglio,  where  they  encountered 
Charles's  proud  procession  "ad- 
vancing haughtily  through  the  city 
like  a  conqueror,"  and  flinging 
themselves  against  the  splendid 
cortege,  drove  the  troopers  back, 
seized  the  imperial  eagles,  and  sent 
Charles  himself  flying  to  the  Palazzo 
Salimbeni,  where  he  found  refuge 
and  had  time  to  treat  with  and 
smooth  down  the  fury  of  the  citi- 
zens. To  show,  however,  how 
mingled  was  the  strain  of  politics, 
and  how  little  any  steadfast  action 
on  one  side  or  another  was  to  be 
calculated  upon,  Siena  was  one  of 
the  fiercely  Ghibelline  cities  that 
threw  open  their  gates  to  Henry, 
smarting  from  the  humiliation 
of  Canossa.  And  the  battle  of 
Monte -Aperto,  that  never-to-be- 
forgotten  victory,  when  the  Arbia 
ran  red,  and  there  was  question 
among  the  Sienese  chiefs  and  the 


Florentine  exiles  who  were  at  their 
head  of  following  up  their  victory 
by  erasing  Florence  from  the  face 
of  the  Tuscan  earth  altogether,  was 
the  great  Ghibelline  victory  of  the 
age.  The  readers  of  Dante  will 
remember  how  it  was  discussed  in 
the  gloomy  regions  of  the  Inferno 
by  the  chief  leader,  Farinata  degli 
TJberti,  that  scornful  soul  who 
seemed  to  hold  hell  itself  in  con- 
tempt, and  the  poet.  The  Sienese 
still  remember  Monte- Aperto  as  the 
Scots  remember  Bannockburn.  So 
signal  a  victory  over  the  most  in- 
timate everyday  enemy,  the  nearest 
neighbour  and  deadliest  foe,  is  not 
likely  ever  to  be  forgotten,  and 
no  doubt,  as  great  part  of  the  ani- 
mosity which  tore  Italy  asunder 
under  those  names  of  Guelf  and 
Ghibelline,  meant  much  more, — the 
rage  always  smouldering  between 
the  many  pairs  of  cities,  each  of 
which  would  have  given  everything 
it  possessed  to  subjugate  its  neigh- 
bour, and  derived  more  real  force 
from  that  than  from  the  larger 
feud  between  Church  and  State, 
the  Pope  and  the  Emperor. 

Provenzano  Salvani,  of  whom  we 
have  already  spoken,  he  who  begged 
for  his  friend's  ransom  in  the  Piazza, 
was  one  of  the  leaders  at  Monte- 
Aperto ;  but  he  met  his  death  in  a 
victory  of  the  Guelf  party  nine 
years  later,  which  seems  to  have 
almost  extinguished  the  Ghibel- 
lines  in  Siena,  so  unequal  were  the 
fortunes  of  war,  beating  down  and 
raising  up  in  almost  an  automatical 
succession  the  fate  of  these  con- 
tending cities.  The  never-ending 
struggle  with  Florence  is  curiously 
illustrated  by  one  of  those  many 
anonymous  scraps  of  contemporary 
history  which  make  the  annals  of 
Italy  so  vivid,  a  'Diario'  by  an 
unknown  writer,  beginning  in  the 
year  1383.  A  great  struggle  was 
just  over,  in  which  Florentines, 
Pisans,  and  the  forces  of  Perugia 
all  took  part,  and  we  find  a  council 


1898.] 


Siena. 


31 


held  in  the  Council-hall  (Sala  de 
Grande  Consiglio),  at  which  the 
representatives  of  these  cities  were 
present  along  with  the  Govern- 
ment of  Siena  itself  in  all  its 
orders — the  Twelve,  the  Nine,  and 
a  smaller  number  of  the  Popolari  or 
representatives  of  the  people.  It 
must  have  been  a  day  of  humilia- 
tion for  the  proud  Sienese,  since  it  is 
evident  that  these  hostile  strangers 
took  part  in  the  change  of  govern- 
ment which  was  then  "  counselled 
and  obtained."  There  were  800 
horsemen  and  2000  infantry  in 
possession  of  the  city,  so  that 
no  doubt  the  arguments  of  the 
intruders  were  strong. 

"It  was  counselled  and  obtained 
that  an  arrangement  should  be  made 
for  eight  or  ten  years  for  an  election 
in  this  method — namely,  four  of  the 
Nine  [or  opulent  middle-class],  four 
of  the  Twelve  [the  nobles],  and  two 
of  the  popular  party,  all  of  whom,  out 
of  respect  to  the  Florentines  and  Per- 
ugians,  were  to  be  called  Priori,  and 
all  the  other  ranks  of  officials  in  their 
gradations  by  the  same  method.  The 
term  of  office  for  the  magistracy  was 
to  be  three  months." 

"Thus,"  adds  the  chronicler, 
"the  city  was  pacificated,"  and 
the  strangers — that  is,  the  soldiers 
— sent  away.  The  pacification, 
which  was  to  be  obtained  by  the 
distracting  process  of  a  new  elec- 
tion and  change  of  rulers  every 
three  months,  was  not  likely  to 
be  a  very  satisfactory  one.  But 
it  was  the  way  in  which  all  those 
tumultuous  cities  imagined  that 
what  was  called  liberty  was  to  be 
obtained  and  preserved — the  mob 
being  pleased  by  a  semblance  of 
thus  doing  everything,  while  the 
few  wire-pullers  guided  it  by  the 
nose  as  long  as  they  remained  of 
accord.  It  must  be  remembered 
that  these  were  the  days  of  the 
soldiers  of  fortune,  when  every 
petty  prince  or  little  city  secured 
the  services  of  a  Condottierre  great 
or  small,  a  band  of  troopers,  gen- 


erally foreign,  whose  occupation  it 
was  to  keep  up  the  continual  little 
wars  which  devastated  the  coun- 
try, and  which  seem,  whatever  side 
might  rise  and  fall,  to  have  afforded 
booty  in  one  shape  or  other  to 
them.  To  get  rid  of  these  locusts 
out  of  the  city  was  always  a  gain, 
by  whatsoever  intricate  political 
bands  they  themselves  were  tied. 

In  1388,  however,  all  this  ac- 
cord was  broken  up,  and  Siena 
sent  a  challenge  (sfida)  to  Flor- 
ence. "  You  must  know,"  says 
the  chronicler,  "that  the  Floren- 
tines might  have  kept  Tuscany 
in  peace ;  but  instead  of  that 
they  constantly  made  mischief  be- 
tween one  and  another,  and  roused 
up  war  in  order  to  make  them- 
selves masters  of  other  cities,  as 
they  did  of  Arezzo  and  Pietra- 
mala.  And  this  was  the  reason 
why  Siena  came  under  the  yoke 
of  a  Master,  which  never  had  felt 
before  the  dominion  of  strangers." 
The  challenge  was  sent  on  the 
30th  April,  and  early  in  May  we 
find  the  Florentines  riding  on 
Sienese  soil — taking  and  burning 
one  village  after  another,  "  lifting  " 
the  cattle,  and  carrying  off  the 
hoards  of  the  peasants,  besides 
spoiling  their  vines  and  corn.  To 
carry  on  any  kind  of  cultivation 
on  those  soft  Tuscan  hillsides, 
which  we  now  traverse  (very 
slowly)  in  a  few  hours,  between 
Florence  and  Siena,  must  have 
been  no  easy  life  in  those  days. 

"  On  the  20th  July  the  Florentines 
came  to  Fontebecci  and  then  to  Monte 
Martino,  and  raised  their  standard 
and  carried  off  many  prisoners.  On 
the  30th  they  returned  to  Valdemerza 
and  to  Monteciano,  scouring  the  coun- 
try, and  carried  off  three  thousand 
great  cattle  and  many  of  the  smaller 
kinds. 

"On  the  llth  August  they  be- 
sieged Basciano,  but  did  not  take  it ; 
for  Paolo  Savelli  (the  Sienese  general) 
came  out  with  many  followers,  push- 
ing as  far  as  Sambuca,  and  by  night 


32 


Siena. 


twice  encountered  the  enemy,  who 
were  routed.  The  grain,  which  had 
been  placed  in  their  boats,  was  brought 
back  and  was  followed  by  the  enemy, 
but  not  in  large  numbers,  as  far  as 
Fontebecci.  When  it  was  known  in 
Siena  that  the  enemy  was  following, 
the  shops  were  immediately  shut, 
and  every  man  ran  to  arms.  The 
enemy  being  made  aware  of  this 
turned  back,  and  thus  all  their  booty 
was  conducted  safely  to  Siena,  and 
there  was  no  loss  to  our  side." 

Here  the  chronicler  pauses  to 
give  an  account  of  the  price  of 
provisions,  which  is  difficult  to 
follow  without  a  table  of  weights 
and  measures,  and  some  idea  of 
the  different  values  of  money  in 
that  time  and  this.  "A  pair  of 
chickens  were  forty  soldi,"  he  says, 
which  seems  cheap  enough  ;  "  but 
capons  brought  two  golden  florins 
all  but  four  soldi."  And  there  was 
little  concord  inside  the  city  to 
soften  the  dangers  without.  A 
certain  Frate  of  the  Augustines 
had  his  head  cut  off  for  bringing 
treasonable  correspondence  one  of 
those  autumn  days,  and  the  great 
palaces  were  full  of  turbulence  and 
disorder, — the  Salimbeni,  with  all 
their  young  gallants  a  centre  of 
disaffection,  always  rebels  against 
the  civil  rule.  And  things  were 
very  bad  in  the  streets,  commerce 
stopped,  and  every  occupation 
arrested.  "All  the  shops  were 
abandoned,  except  those  which 
supplied  things  necessary  for 
soldiers  and  for  the  wounded." 
This  brief  touch  gives  a  very 
graphic  glimpse  of  the  situation. 
Every  booth  and  wide  open  shop 
closed  up  in  darkness,  and  only 
the  armourer  and  the  apothecary 
reigned  supreme. 

"  In  August  the  Florentines 
reached  the  Castel  della  Selva, 
and  there  was  much  fighting,  eight 
men  being  killed  at  the  foot  of 
the  wall,  and  there  were  more 
than  a  hundred  wounded.  Inside 
were  slain  a  woman  and  a  man. 


When  they  appeared  in  Rengo- 
magno  Paolo  Savelli  and  our  people 
heard  of  it,  and  coming  up  with  the 
enemy,  engaged  battle,  and  there 
was  cruel  fighting."  At  the  end 
the  Sienese  broke  the  Florentine 
force,  and  took  the  captain  and  the 
colours,  and  152  prisoners,  all  of 
whom  were  brought  before  the 
Signoria.  Twenty-five  in  all  were 
killed  in  battle,  and  great  rejoic- 
ings were  made.  In  September 
they  rode  as  far  as  Tolfe,  and  set 
an  ambush  and  killed  and  wounded 
many,  dragging  out  eyes  and  teeth, 
cutting  off  hands  and  feet  and 
other  members  (dishoneste  membri) 
with  infinite  cruelty,  leaving  the 
prisoners  to  die  of  hunger.  And 
many  such  things  were  done  on 
other  raids  which  we  pass  over, 
as  similar  things  happen  on  both 
sides.  But  the  ambush  of  the 
enemy  was  of  little  use,  because 
everybody  had  returned  home, 
though  but  for  a  brief  repose. 

On  the  16th  September  the 
Sienese  scoured  the  country  of 
the  Florentines  as  far  as  Rubbo, 
and  turning  back  with  their  prey 
fell  into  an  ambush  and  fought  : 
there  were  many  killed  and  wound- 
ed on  both  sides. 

As  winter  went  on  the  men  of 
Siena  would  seem  to  have  become 
aggressive  in  their  turn  ;  and  per- 
haps from  the  fact  that  the  army 
was  thus  withdrawn  from  the 
vicinity  of  the  city,  greater  troubles 
arose  within.  There  were  negoti- 
ations going  on  with  the  Duke  of 
Milan,  called  in  the  record  by  the 
inappropriate  title  of  Conte  di 
Virtu,  which  the  community  no 
doubt  felt  itself  forced  into,  in 
order  to  secure  a  protector  against 
its  turbulent  neighbours,  but  which 
many  of  the  noble  families  opposed 
violently.  Thus  in  October,  while 
Paolo  Savelli  and  his  troops  were 
carrying  fire  and  sword  into  the 
Florentine  dominions,  the  streets 
were  loud  with  shouts  and  skir- 


1898.] 


Siena. 


33 


mishes,  the  palaces  closed  like  so 
many  dark  fortresses  frowning 
upon  the  crowd,  and  every  court- 
yard bristling  with  arms.  "A 
great  commotion  arose  in  Siena  on 
account  of  the  Conte  di  Virtu, 
and  many  of  the  Malavolti  were 
slain."  After  which  the  heads  of 
two  great  houses,  Messer  Urlando 
Malavolti  and  Messer  Niccol6  Sal- 
imbeni,  retired  to  their  castles  in 
the  country,  and  there  joined  in 
the  struggle  against  their  country- 
men, taking  the  Florentine  side. 
There  was  no  doubt  a  kind  of 
patriotism  in  resisting  the  appeal  to 
a  protector  alien  to  the  city,  and 
one  whose  connection  with  it  would 
probably  lead  to  the  establishment 
of  a  tyranny  ;  but  the  Salimbeni  at 
least,  and  probably  other  predomi- 
nant families,  had  already  brought 
in  foreign  aid,  and  their  love  of 
their  country  was  always  mingled 
with  ambitious  projects  of  their 
own.  Meantime  the  struggle  went 
on  through  all  the  undulations  of 
that  smiling  Tuscan  landscape, 
which  by  nature  seems  the  very 
home  of  peace.  The  Sienese  took 
Poggio  de  Oortona  and  held  it  for 
thirty  days,  after  which  they  were 
driven  out  by  the  Florentines.  On 
the  other  side  Montereggioni  was 
lost  but  retaken  the  same  day,  the 
Florentines  losing  fifty  men.  And 
thus  the  record  goes  on,  scarcely 
a  week  without  weapons  in  the 
streets,  "palaces  injured,  especially 
that  of  the  Tolomei,"  scarcely  a 
day  without  a  village  in  flames, 
"the  vines  and  trees  destroyed" 
along  a  wide  range  of  country,  the 
very  phrase  bringing  before  us  the 
festooned  elms  and  mulberries,  the 
links  of  vine  from  row  to  row, 
which  is  still  the  favourite  method 
of  viniculture  in  Tuscany.  Fin- 
ally, either  the  belligerents  grew 
tired  of  the  unalterable  vicissi- 
tudes, the  monotony  of  ineffectual 
victories  and  losses,  by  which 

VOL.  CLXIV. — NO.  DCCCCXCIII. 


neither  side  gained  anything,  or 
the  Milanese  alliance  turned  the 
scale,  for  we  hear  first  of  a  truce 
of  twenty-five  days,  and  then  that 
"  peace  was  established  between 
Siena  and  Florence,  and  every- 
thing taken  in  the  war  (which 
had  lasted  two  years)  was  ami- 
cably restored  by  either  party, 
both  prisoners  and  goods."  The 
absolute  inutility  of  such  strug- 
gles could  not  be  better  shown. 
Much  trouble  and  misery,  though 
perhaps  less  than  we,  from  our  very 
different  standing-point,  would  im- 
agine, the  people  being  inured  to 
all  the  risks  and  troubles — without 
actual  gain  to  either  side,  as  many 
villages  being  wrecked  and  restored 
by  one  party  as  by  the  other — 
might,  one  would  have  imagined, 
have  convinced  the  combatants  of 
the  folly  of  their  constant  strug- 
gles. No  doubt  the  fact  that  the 
armies  on  either  side  were  mer- 
cenaries, and  that  it  was  not 
native  blood  that  was  shed  in 
those  continual  battles — also  that 
the  loss  of  life  was  comparatively 
small,  each  trooper  being  in  his 
own  person  a  moving  tower  of 
mail,  and  their  encounters  more 
noisy  than  dangerous — made  the 
evils  of  war  seem  less  to  the  hot- 
headed municipalities  in  their  fierce 
emulation  and  rivalry,  to  whom 
it  was  the  great  excitement  of  life. 

The  peace  was  made  in  the  end 
of  1389  (in  February,  the  year 
then  beginning,  according  to  the 
old  style,  in  March).  But  by 
April  of  1390  it  was  all  aflame 
again,  and  the  work  of  besieging 
castles  and  burning  villages  going 
on  as  merrily  as  ever. 

Some  years  after  we  find  a 
solemn  contract  drawn  between 
the  people  of  Siena  and  Gian 
Geliazzo,  Duke  of  Milan,  by  which 
that  great  personage  was  pro- 
claimed Signor  of  Siena,  under 
the  strictest  rules  and  regulations 
c 


34 


safeguarding  the  laws,  revenues, 
and  government  of  the  people. 
This  would  seem  to  be  the  first 
time  that  of  her  own  accord,  and 
by  a  popular  vote,  Siena  had 
given  herself  a  foreign  master. 
She  had,  like  every  other  Italian 
city,  passed  from  hand  to  hand 
as  various  waves  of  invasion 
passed  over  Italy ;  but  she  had 
not  acknowledged  the  need  of 
outdoor  protection  till  now.  The 
Duke  of  Milan  bound  himself 
and  all  his  successors  to  respect 
the  existing  constitution  of  the 
city,  and  not  to  interfere  with 
her  revenues  until  all  her  own 
expenses  had  been  fully  paid. 
This,  it  is  to  be  supposed,  satis- 
fied the  burghers  and  populace 
for  a  time,  but  not  the  nobles, 
who  remained  as  thorns  in  the 
side  of  every  government.  The 
Salimbeni  would  seem  to  have 
continued  the  most  troublesome 
of  all.  In  the  little  Piazza 
formed  on  three  sides  by  their 
great  mansions  now,  there  stands 
a  peaceful  statue  of  a  priest,  a 
stooping,  somewhat  deprecating 
figure,  which  seems  to  ask  pardon 
for  the  presence  there  in  that 
warlike  vicinity  of  the  gentle 
philanthropist.  Very  different 
often  have  been  the  inmates  of 
that  strong  square.  On  one  oc- 
casion the  whole  town  turned  out, 
headed  by  the  lieutenant  who 
represented  the  Duke  of  Milan, 
to  seize  two  scions  of  the  house 
who  had  conspired  against  the 
commonwealth.  They  were  the 
sons  of  that  Niccolo  who,  in  1389, 
retired  to  his  fortress  outside  the 
walls,  and  fought  on  the  Floren- 
tine side  against  his  countrymen ; 
yet  when  the  pact  was  made  with 
the  Duke  of  Milan  in  1399,  had 
somehow  managed  to  get  back 
to  the  head  of  affairs,  and  signed 
the  treaty  as  Sindaco.  But  the 
prudence  of  the  father  was  but 
a  poor  safeguard  of  the  loyalty  of 


Siena.  [July 

his  sons.  The  elder  of  the  two 
conspirators,  Francesco,  was  taken 
in  his  father's  palace,  and  a  wild 
and  tragic  light  is  for  a  moment 
thrown  over  the  scene, — the  group 
of  leaders,  the  Milanese  captain, 
the  roaring  train  of  the  populace, 
crowding  every  corner.  The  right 
thing  to  have  done  would  have 
been  to  lead  him  before  the  Sig- 
noria, — his  father,  for  aught  we 
know,  being  still  at  its  head. 
But  this  the  authorities  were 
afraid  to  do,  fearing  no  doubt  a 
rescue ;  and  while  his  captors 
struggled  round  him  compelling 
him  to  mount  his  horse,  it  was 
so  contrived  that  some  one  in  the 
crowd  should  strike  an  accidental 
blow  which  pierced  the  brain  of 
the  prisoner.  He  was  struck  in 
the  eye  and  fell,  avoiding  the  need 
of  any  perilous  progress  through 
the  street,  yet  no  one  could  be 
said  to  be  to  blame.  The  younger 
escaped,  and  the  conspiracy  was 
over  for  the  moment. 

Perhaps  it  was  not  to  be  won- 
dered at  that  other  sons  of  the  Sal- 
imbeni should  have  taken  to  bad 
ways,  after  such  a  family  inci- 
dent. Two  younger  members  of 
the  family  "  took  to  the  road,"  as 
we  should  say.  Probably  they 
removed  to  some  eyrie  in  the  ad- 
jacent country,  some  tower  upon 
a  rock,  from  where  they  could 
exact  toll  and  tribute,  and  exer- 
cise genteelly  the  trade  of  highway- 
men. Our  chronicler  tells  one 
comic  story  of  these  brothers,  who 
were  called  Ghinosso  and  Bigallo, 
which  is  not  quite  original  per- 
haps, but  of  a  kind  that  is  always 
popular.  One  day  the  Abbot  of 
Oluguy  (it  would  be  impertinent 
to  inquire  which,  for  the  Abbots  of 
Cluguy  were  too  great  to  figure  in 
such  light  records)  passed  by  on 
his  way  to  certain  baths,  where 
he  hoped  to  recover  his  appetite, 
which  he  had  lost.  The  two 
Salimbeni  knew  all  about  it,  as  it 


1898.] 


Siena. 


35 


appears,  and  what  his  intention  was, 
though  it  is  difficult  to  divine  what 
baths  the  reverend  prelate  could 
be  bound  to  which  led  him  through 
Tuscany  ;  but  perhaps  he  had  come 
from  Rome,  and  not  from  his  dis- 
tant abbey.  Ghinosso  and  Bigallo 
met  him  on  the  way,  and  courte- 
ously conveyed  him  to  an  apart- 
ment in  their  castello,  where  they 
shut  him  up  in  safety,  and  scrupu- 
lously supplied  his  table  with 
bread  and  beans  and  excellent 
pure  water.  "  It  happened,"  says 
our  chronicler,  "  after  a  few  days, 
that  the  appetite  of  the  prelate 
came  back,  and  for  the  purgation 
which  Ghinosso  and  Bigallo  had 
given  him  he  left  them  all  the 
money  which  he  had  intended  to 
spend  at  the  baths." 

Alas  !  this  merry  jest  was  but  a 
small  episode  in  the  career  of  the 
noble  highwaymen.  Ghinosso  died 
a  miserable  death  —  impaled,  the 
historian  tells ;  and  the  fate  of 
Bigallo  was  even  more  shameful. 
While  he  pursued  his  robber  life, 
"  levying  imposts  and  executing 
cruelties  on  all  weaker  than  him- 
self," Bigallo  killed  the  husband 
and  some  of  the  sons  of  Monna 
Gianna  della  Ripa  de  Gote.  Hav- 
ing thus  deprived  her  of  her 
natural  defenders,  he  attempted 
to  extort  more  money  from  the 
desperate  woman,  who  in  her  rage 
and  anguish  killed  him  in  self- 
defence,  with  the  aid  of  her  house- 
hold. She  then  laid  his  body 
across  an  ass,  and  herself  led  the 
animal  to  the  nearest  gate  of  the 
city.  Arrived  there,  she  asked 
what  duty  had  to  be  paid  on  a 
dead  swine  (porco).  The  wonder- 
ing porter  allowed  her  to  pass,  and 
she  led  the  ass  to  the  Palazzo  Pub- 
blico,  and  there  threw  down  its 
burden.  The  Signoria  would  have 
given  her  a  reward,  but  she  would 
take  nothing,  saying  she  had  done 
this  not  for  money,  but  to  punish 
the  cruelty  of  her  enemy. 


The  woman  with  her  ass  and  its 
dreadful  freight  climbing  the  soft 
hillside,  mounting  slowly  up  the 
precipitous  stony  street,  no  doubt 
with  a  horrified  train  of  gazers 
after  her,  past  the  dark  walls  of 
the  palace  where  the  wretched 
youth  had  been  born — it  would 
be  impossible  to  conceive  a  more 
terrible  figure  :  such  appalling  in- 
stances of  revenge  and  retribution 
fill  up  the  darker  side  of  the  pic- 
ture, which  contained  so  many 
sparkling  and  brilliant  scenes. 

Our  anonymous  chronicler  per- 
haps felt  that  in  these  histories 
he  had  been  too  hard  upon  the 
Salimbeni,  for  suddenly  in  the 
midst  of  all  the  vicissitudes  of 
the  Florentine  wars  he  pauses  to 
set  before  us  at  unusual  length 
the  story  of  another  son  of  the 
family,  a  perfect  hero  of  romance 
in  the  midst  of  those  tyrants 
and  robbers.  The  story  is  all 
peace  and  rural  tranquillity.  It 
seems  to  breathe  across  a  coun- 
try where  never  a  raid  had  passed 
nor  an  imposition  been  made.  The 
actual  Tuscany,  the  prosperous 
fields,  the  homely  quiet  of  the 
mezzeria,  the  little  farmhouse  on 
the  hill,  come  before  our  eyes  as 
they  now  are,  peaceful  as  if 
Florence  had  never  been  other 
than  a  sister,  and  nothing  but 
chevaliers  and  paladins  had  ever 
been  found  among  the  noble  Italian 
youth.  He  begins  by  telling  us 
how,  long  years  before  his  story, 
there  had  been  a  serious  quarrel 
between  the  Salimbeni  and  the 
Montanini,  which  arose  in  a  great 
hunting-party,  but  which  was  car- 
ried on  so  long  and  so  bitterly 
that  the  Montanini  were  crushed, 
and  lost  their  high  place  and  almost 
all  their  possessions.  When  the 
story  begins  there  are  but  a  brother 
and  a  sister  living,  Carlo  and  the 
young  Angelica,  whose  beauty  was 
such  that  she  was  more  like  an 
angel  than  a  mortal  maiden.  All 


36 


Siena. 


[July 


that  Carlo  possessed  was  a  little 
property  worth  twelve  hundred 
ducats,  and  upon  this  he  lived, 
maintaining  himself  and  his  sister. 
It  happened  that  in  the  neighbour- 
hood, in  a  beautiful  villa  or  castle, 
dwelt  Anselmo  of  the  Salimbeni, 
a  rich  scion  of  that  race,  who, 
as  he  rode  about  the  country,  and 
especially  as  he  went  into  Siena, 
passed  by  the  farmhouse,  and  con- 
stantly saw  Angelica  pursuing  her 
avocations  there.  The  reader  will 
feel  that  here  is  again  Romeo  and 
Juliet,  the  old  story  which  we 
know  so  well.  And  here  it  is,  yet 
with  so  marked  a  difference  that 
it  might  be  original.  It  is  like  a 
story  out  of  Boccaccio,  but  for  the 
perfect  purity  and  grace  of  the 
conception,  which  is  the  most  en- 
tirely chivalrous  of  any  Italian 
story  we  know.  It  must  be  pre- 
mised that  with  the  ruin  of  the 
Montanini  family  the  feud  with 
the  Salimbeni  had  almost  ceased 
to  be  remembered,  and  that  it  was 
rather  the  difference  of  position 
than  the  old  hostility  which  kept 
these  youthful  persons  unac- 
quainted with  each  other.  The 
story  altogether  forms  the  prettiest 
picture — if  too  ethereal,  too  virtu- 
ous, and  elevated  in  sentiment  for 
anything  out  of  Arcadia — of  the 
old  Tuscan  life :  with  the  jealous 
mother-city  always  on  the  watch 
for  conspiracies,  and  mischief  al- 
ways apt  to  be  done  on  that  ground, 
notwithstanding  the  ideal  life,  the 
genial  poverty,  and  gracious  wealth 
of  the  dwellers  in  farms  and  fields. 
There  came  to  Carlo  Montanini 
a  wily  citizen,  who  offered  him 
twelve  hundred  ducats  for  his  little 
property,  and  represented  to  him 
how  much  better  it  would  be  for 
him  to  leave  the  country  and  seek 
his  fortune,  like  other  young  men 
of  noble  blood  and  birth.  But 
Carlo  remembered  his  sister,  who 
had  no  other  defender,  and  refused. 
The  citizen  then,  like  a  true  villain 


of  the  fourteenth  century,  de- 
nounced Oarlo  to  the  Signoria  as 
conspiring  against  Siena,  and  our 
noble  young  farmer,  though  quite 
innocent,  was  haled  to  prison, 
and  there  lay  until  the  award  was 
given  against  him  and  he  was  sen- 
tenced to  pay  within  a  few  days 
twelve  hundred  ducats  or  to  die. 
Then  the  wily  citizen  renewed  his 
offers  for  the  land,  but  at  a  reduced 
price.  Deeply  Carlo  pondered  in 
his  prison  as  to  what  he  should  do. 
If  he  sold  his  property  even  for  the 
full  price,  the  fine  would  absorb 
every  penny,  and  Angelica  would 
be  left  destitute.  As  for  himself, 
he  might  easily  of  course  go  to  the 
wars,  but  what  would  Angelica  do  1 
She  could  not  marry,  for  she 
would  have  no  dower,  and  how  to 
preserve  her  in  honour  and  safety 
with  nothing  to  live  on  and  her 
only  protector  gone  !  Carlo  made 
up  his  mind  that  it  would  be  much 
better  for  him  to  die  and  leave  the 
farm  safe  for  his  sister,  who  could 
then  marry  and  all  would  be  well. 
With  this  determination  he  refused 
to  hear  anything  more  from  his 
tempter,  but  prepared  with  resig- 
nation and  piety  to  sacrifice  his 
life,  since  no  better  end  might  be. 
That  evening,  while  Carlo  lay  in 
his  prison  collecting  all  his  thoughts 
for  his  last  confession,  an  innocent 
man,  Anselmo  Salimbeni,  rode  past 
the  farm  as  usual  and  saw  An- 
gelica, not  smiling  and  busy  as  was 
her  wont,  but  surrounded  by  a 
group  of  weeping  women,  and  over- 
whelmed with  sorrow  and  despair. 
The  young  man  paused  in  great 
distress  to  see  the  object  of  his  love 
in  such  a  plight,  and  questioned 
some  of  her  attendants.  When  he 
heard  that  if  the  ransom  was  not 
paid  before  next  morning  Carlo 
must  die,  and  that  his  sister  had 
neither  friends  nor  money  to  save 
him,  Anselmo  rode  away,  ponder- 
ing in  his  heart.  What  was  he  to 
do  ?  Perhaps  if  he  paid  the  money 


1898.] 


Siena. 


37 


Carlo  might  still  remember  the 
feud  between  the  families  and  re- 
fuse consent  to  his  marrying  An- 
gelica ;  while,  on  the  other  hand, 
if  Carlo  perished,  an  end  which  as 
his  feudal  enemy  Anselmo  regard- 
ed without  horror,  Angelica  could 
not  well  resist  any  suit  he  made 
to  her.  These  thoughts,  however, 
were  quite  alien  to  the  young  man's 
nature,  the  impulse  of  which  was 
to  step  in  at  once  to  dry  the  sister's 
tears  and  save  the  brother's  life. 
This  accordingly  was  what  he  did. 
The  money  was  paid,  and  Carlo, 
much  surprised,  was  liberated. 
Thinking  that  his  sister  had  found 
some  miraculous  means  of  doing 
this,  he  hurried  home,  only  to  find 
Angelica  in  a  state  of  distraction, 
believing  him  dead,  and  that  it  was 
his  ghost  who  thus  broke  in  upon 
her  despair.  Carlo  then  hastened 
back  to  the  city  to  discover  who  it 
was  who  had  delivered  him,  and 
having  found  out  that  it  was  An- 
selmo, returned  home  very  thought- 
fully pondering  what  was  to  be 
done.  He  was  at  no  loss  to  divine 
the  motive.  Only  love,  he  said  to 
himself,  could  explain  such  an 
unheard-of  liberality.  And  how 
was  it  to  be  repaid  1  Only  by  one 
thing — to  bestow  Angelica,  freely 
and  without  conditions,  upon  their 
benefactor.  There  was  no  other 
way.  He  had  nothing  to  give  but 
his  sister  :  and  she  had  nothing  to 
give  but  herself. 

It  was  nightfall  when  he  reached 
home,  and  he  had  no  sooner  entered 
and  closed  the  door  upon  the  too 
sympathetic  neighbours  than  he 
opened  his  views  to  Angelica. 
Even  a  woman's  honour,  which 
was  her  most  sacred  dowry  and  the 
best  treasure  of  her  family,  was  not 
to  be  considered  in  comparison  with 
this.  Angelica  listened  to  her 
brother's  long  speech  with  sobs  and 
tears,  and  made  a  melancholy  ap- 
peal to  him  to  save  her;  but  finding 
him  fixed  in  his  purpose,  at  length 


yielded,  and  putting  on  her  worst 
gown,  followed  him  weeping  to 
the  palace  of  Anselmo.  Here 
all  was  closed  for  the  night ; 
but  the  doors  were  finally  opened 
by  the  wondering  servants,  and 
Anselmo,  still  more  astonished, 
came  hurrying  down,  thunder- 
stricken  to  see  the  fair  Angelica 
with  her  brother.  That  Carlo 
should  have  come  to  thank  him 
was  natural ;  but  why  Angelica  at 
midnight,  or  near  it?  Carlo  begged 
that  they  might  speak  to  him  in 
private, — that  Anselmo  would  take 
them  to  his  own  room  and  speak  to 
them  there.  Still  more  astonished, 
Anselmo  led  the  way ;  and  when 
they  were  within  the  luxurious  and 
beautiful  room,  Carlo  solemnly 
addressed  his  deliverer.  He  was 
sure,  he  said,  that  only  the  love  of 
Angelica  could  have  suggested  such 
a  deed.  And  nothing  could  the 
ruined  family  give  but  Angelica  to 
repay  it.  When  he  had  said  this 
he  hastily  left  the  room  and  closed 
the  door,  leaving  his  sister  behind. 
For  a  moment  the  admirable 
Anselmo  stood  dazed  and  dumb, 
not  knowing  what  to  think ;  but 
when  he  bad  recovered  himself  a 
little,  he  too  made  a  speech  to  the 
trembling  girl,  and  with  a  low  bow 
withdrew,  leaving  her  alone  in 
possession  of  his  apartment.  The 
reader  will  perceive  how  entirely 
novel  is  the  situation  of  this  old- 
world  tale,  not  Boccaccio,  nor  yet 
Shakespeare, having  conceived  any- 
thing so  lofty  in  sentiment  as  this 
struggle  of  generosity  and  love. 

Anselmo's  next  step  was  to 
send  for  all  the  ladies  in  the 
neighbourhood — the  gentiledonne  ; 
and  it  is  a  curious  indication  of 
the  well-inhabited  Tuscan  country- 
side, that  a  number  of  ladies 
seem  to  have  responded,  as  if 
the  little  settlements  of  gentle- 
folks, branches  of  noble  families 
spread  about  the  rustic  neighbour- 
hood in  villa  or  farm,  were  not  few. 


38 


Siena. 


[July 


These  ladies  were  taken  to  the 
chamber  in  which  the  terrified 
maiden  sat  alone,  to  bear  her  com- 
pany. He  then  sent  for  the  men, 
among  them  his  own  relations  and 
friends,  who  also  arrived  in  haste  in 
the  middle  of  the  night,  all  aston- 
ished beyond  measure  by  thesudden 
call.  The  servants  by  this  time 
were  all  prepared  with  torches  to 
light  the  long  procession  of  honour- 
able folk,  Angelica  and  her  ladies, 
young  Salimbeni  and  his  men,  to 
the  mezzeria,  where  Carlo  lay  sadly 
alone,  in  the  midst  of  the  silent 
fields.  Whether  he  saw  the  line 
of  torches  glimmering  through  the 
night,  or  suspected  what  was  com- 
ing, we  are  not  told ;  but  he  opened 
his  doors  to  the  procession,  which 
ascended  gravely  into  the  large 
sola  which  is  the  natural  centre 
of  every  Italian  house.  It  was  now 
Anselmo's  turn  to  speak,  which  he 
did  in  the  noblest  terms,  describing 
what  had  already  passed  during 
this  exciting  night.  "  I  accept  the 
gift  that  has  been  given  to  me,"  he 
said;  "and  before  you  all,  and  in 
all  reverence  and  worship,  take 
Angelica  to  be  my  spouse,  my 
adored  and  revered  bride."  Not 
only  the  ladies — "  who  have  intelli- 
gence in  love,"  as  Dante  says — but 
the  men,  the  relations,  every  one 
present,  consented  and  applauded. 
And  shortly  after  the  marriage  was 
celebrated  with  great  pomp ;  and 
if  they  then  did  not  live  happily 
ever  after,  it  was  not  for  want  of 
noble  sentiment.  Indeed,  the  wily 
citizen  who  had  first  tried  to  obtain 
Carlo's  land  at  a  bargain,  and  then 
denounced  him  that  he  might  be 
forced  to  sell  it,  was  so  far  moved 
by  this  exhibition  of  magnanimity 
that  he  sent  back  the  thousand 
ducats  which  he  had  not  paid  for 
the  farm,  a  free-will  offering  to  the 
man  whom  he  had  wronged  ;  and 
the  magnificent  Signoria  in  the 
city,  finding  that  it  had  been  de- 
ceived, sent  back  the  fine  which 


Anselmo  had  paid,  and  restored 
Carlo  to  all  the  rights  of  his  noble 
family ;  and  all  went  merry  as  a 
marriage-bell. 

I  hope  the  visitor  to  Siena  will 
not  think  this  story  out  of  place  as 
he  roams  about  the  neighbourhood, 
finding  at  every  point  of  view  a 
different  and  more  picturesque  com- 
bination of  the  towers  and  roofs 
of  the  city  seated  on  her  three 
hills.  To  myself  the  procession, 
with  its  torches,  a  wavering  line  of 
lights,  moving  up  and  down  the  un- 
dulating road,  to  convey  Angelica 
in  love  and  tender  reverence  to 
her  brother's  house,  while  the 
noble  young  bridegroom  marched 
behind  with  all  his  cousins  and 
his  retainers  to  do  the  penniless 
maiden  the  greater  honour, — adds 
a  delightful  association  to  the 
Tuscan  landscape  with  all  its 
little  hills.  Sterner,  more  dread- 
ful, and  perhaps  more  real  still  is 
the  other  group — Monna  Gianna, 
bereaved  and  desperate,  leading 
up  to  the  city  gate  the  young 
cut -throat  and  robber,  the  dead 
porco,  who  had  murdered  her 
children.  With  what  vividness 
may  one  realise  the  story  of  the 
great  turbulent  medieval  family, 
full  of  honour  and  nobility,  full 
of  cruelty  and  crime,  when  one 
remembers  that  our  noble  young 
Anselmo  and  that  robber  of  the 
fields  were  of  the  same  house — 
cousins,  if  not  perhaps  brothers. 
The  relationship  among  Italian 
folk  is  counted  almost  the  same. 

After  the  delightful  narrative 
above  quoted  the  chronicler  re- 
turns to  his  story  of  endless 
raids  and  forays,  —  for  all  the 
world  like  those  of  the  High- 
landers, or  the  Borderers  while 
England  and  Scotland  were  two 
countries, — "lifting"  cattle,  burn- 
ing farms,  destroying  harvests, 
with  constant  reprisals  from  the 
other  side.  Siena  went  through 


1898.] 


Siena. 


innumerable  vicissitudes  during 
these  centuries.  Sometimes  a 
tyrant  from  amidst  her  own 
bosom  arose  and  grasped  the 
reins  of  power,  chief  among  them 
being  Pandolfo  Petrucci,  who, 
aided  by  the  continued  dissen- 
sions of  the  municipal  govern- 
ment, seized  the  city  in  the  end 
of  the  fifteenth  century,  and  be- 
came, it  is  said,  so  great  a  ruler 
as  to  gain  the  applause  of 
Macchiavelli.  He  has  left  be- 
hind him  a  palace  known  as  the 
house  of  the  Magnifico,  and  his 
tomb  may  be  seen  in  the  sacristy 
of  the  Osservanza,  the  picturesque 
convent,  foundation  and  home  of 
San  Bernardino,  who  is  a  still 
greater  glory  to  Siena.  But 
Petrucci,  like  Cromwell,  left 
neither  son  nor  grandson  suffi- 
ciently able  to  succeed  him,  and 
ended  where  he  began.  New  dis- 
cords, new  wars,  new  struggles  fol- 
lowed his  brief  tyranny,  and  after 
a  terrible  experience  of  Spanish 
rule  under  the  Emperor  Charles 
V.,  —  against  which  the  desperate 
citizens  made  at  last  an  energetic 
rebellion,  and  drove  the  invaders 
out  of  the  city, — but  after  many 
reverses,  risings  and  fallings,  and 
continual  fighting,  the  worn-out 
community  fell  into  the  hands  of 
the  Medici,  and  became  hence- 
forward the  thrall  of  the  race 
which  had  already  subjugated 
Florence.  The  black  and  white 
banner  blew  forth  never  again 
over  the  black  and  white  towers 
in  emblem  of  freedom  until  Siena 
gave,  first  of  the  Tuscan  cities,  the 
memorable  Si  which  made  her  a 
part  of  emancipated  Italy,  no 
longer  a  vexed  republic,  but  a 
dutiful  and  lawful  Italian  town. 
A  busy  place,  full  of  that  cheer- 


ful activity  with  which  the  kindly 
and  social  instincts  of  the  race 
make  their  streets  gay, — and  not 
without  manifold  occupations  and 
industries,  all  enclosed  in  the  pic- 
turesque walls  which  still  encircle 
the  city,  walls  which  would  not 
stand  an  hour's  siege  nowadays, 
but  are  pleasant  to  see  in  peaceful 
preservation,  marking  the  circuit 
of  the  ancient  city.  The  high  tower 
of  the  Cathedral,  in  black  and 
white,  like  all  that  is  distinctly 
Sienese,  stands  up  on  the  highest 
pinnacle,  the  standard  and  the 
pride  of  the  community ;  and  the 
civic  tower  of  the  Mangia  raises 
itself  proudly  into  the  blue  air, 
the  Rocca,  the  central  strength, 
representative  of  civic  power  and 
independence.  Church  and  State 
could  not  have  more  dignified 
images  side  by  side  upon  the 
height  of  the  warmly  clothed  and 
defended  hills.  The  bells  ring  in 
the  Cathedral  campanile  for  all 
the  events  of  human  life,  —  for 
marriage  and  for  funeral,  for 
christening  and  for  festival ;  but 
from  the  Torre  della  Mangia  only 
the  watcher's  note  of  alarm,  the 
great  bell  a  stuormo  which  awakens 
all  the  city.  All  the  days  of  the 
year,  except  that  one  solemn  day 
when  the  Lord  of  our  salvation 
lay  in  the  grave  so  soon  to  be 
opened,  the  church  bells  call  to 
prayer  and  mass  and  pious  ob- 
servance. And  in  those  days  of 
peace  the  great  tower  is  silent, 
with  no  watcher  on  its  fine  balcony 
to  note  the  approach  of  any  foe, 
since  foe  there  is  none  to  come ; 
but  its  very  outline  against  the  sky 
breathes  force  and  vigilance  and 
protection,  light  as  a  flower  but 
strong  as  a  rock,  and  dear  as  their 
fathers'  roof-tree  to  every  heart. 


40 


Checkmated :  A  Linnceus  of  the  Hindu  Kush. 


[July 


CHECKMATED:    A    LINN.EUS    OF    THE    HINDU    KUSH. 


THE  relentless  August  sun  beat 
down  on  the  old  native  fortress, 
which  had  lately  been  converted 
into  the  British  frontier  post  of 
Fort  Chardagh  ;  down  on  the  dusty 
little  barrack  -  square,  where  a 
smooth-faced  English  boy,  aided 
by  a  native  Jemadar,  was  drilling 
a  levy  of  huge  black-haired  Path- 
ans  ;  down  on  the  stuffy  little  office 
where  a  Babu  telegraph-clerk,  ter- 
rified by  the  uncongenial  surround- 
ings to  which  he  had  been  trans- 
lated, squatted  half-asleep,  wonder- 
ing if  he  would  ever  see  Chandni 
Chowk  again,  but  keeping  a  drowsy 
eye  on  the  needle  of  the  instrument, 
which  seemed  to  him  his  only  link 
with  civilisation ;  down  on  the 
meagrely  furnished  little  room  in 
the  officers'  quarters,  where,  curs- 
ing his  lot  even  more  vehemently 
than  the  telegraph-clerk,  sat  Cap- 
tain John  Armstrong,  D.S.O.,  the 
Political  officer  of  the  district.  It 
was  only  quite  recently  that  Fort 
Chardagh  had  risen  to  the  dignity 
of  possessing  a  Political  officer  and 
a  telegraph-clerk.  The  district  it 
controlled  was,  for  that  part  of 
the  world,  a  singularly  peaceful 
one,  and  it  commanded  none  of 
the  great  passes  leading  into  India. 
True,  it  was  pushed  so  far  forward 
into  the  Hindu  Kush  as  to  be 
the  nearest  British  outpost  to  the 
Russian  sphere  of  influence  in 
Central  Asia ;  but  it  was  less 
on  this  account  than  because  of 
its  proximity  to  the  powerful 
khanate  of  Dilt  that  the  Govern- 
ment had  suddenly  thought  fit  to 
station  a  Political  officer  there. 
England  was  on  the  verge  of  un- 
dertaking one  of  her  "  little " 
frontier  wars,  which  might  easily 
develop  into  a  big  one,  if  the 
Diltis  elected  to  throw  in  their 


lot  with  the  recalcitrant  tribes  it 
was  thought  necessary  to  punish  ; 
and  although  no  European  had 
ever  been  permitted  to  enter  Dil- 
tistan,  it  was  considered  advisable 
to  keep  a  watchful  eye  on  it  from 
our  nearest  point  of  vantage. 
Armstrong,  than  whom  none  of 
the  younger  officers  of  the  day 
possessed  a  better  knowledge  of 
either  the  frontier  tribes  or  their 
dialects,  had  been  selected  for  the 
post ;  and  thus  it  was  that  on  that 
breathless  August  afternoon  he  was 
sitting  cursing  the  fate  which  had 
consigned  him  to  such  a  God-for- 
saken spot,  for  he  felt  that  the 
three  months  he  had  already  passed 
there  might  just  as  profitably  have 
been  passed  in  the  Highlands  of 
Scotland  as  in  those  of  Pathan- 
istan.  Never,  no  never,  had  he 
been  in  such  a  beastly  hole  !  True, 
Pargir,  where  he  had  last  been 
stationed  on  similar  work,  was  bad 
enough ;  but  there,  at  all  events, 
the  natives  played  polo,  whereas 
here  they  seemed  to  care  for  noth- 
ing except  tilling  their  wretched 
fields,  and  had  not  furnished  him 
with  matter  for  even  one  little 
report  to  the  Foreign  Office  at 
Simla.  As  he  lay  listlessly  smok- 
ing, and  listening  to  the  sounds 
vaguely  floating  in  through  the 
open  window  from  the  parade- 
ground  below,  Captain  Armstrong 
felt  in  a  thoroughly  bad  temper. 

•But  relief  was  even  now  at 
hand.  A  discreet  cough  and  tap 
on  the  door  presently  announced 
Mohan  Lai,  the  telegraph -clerk, 
bearing  a  freshly  arrived  despatch, 
which,  as  he  opened  it,  Armstrong 
saw  was  in  official  cipher  code, 
and  therefore  of  importance ;  and 
so,  dismissing  the  salaaming  Babu, 
he  hastily  got  out  his  code -book 


1898.] 


Checkmated :  A  Linnceus  of  the  Hindu  Kush. 


41 


and  proceeded  to  decipher  it. 
It  was  from  the  Political  officer 
at  Peshawur,  and  when  translated 
read  thus  : — 

"From  Simla.  Reported  Rus- 
sian Political  Agent  leaves  Reshat 
(the  nearest  Russian  post  to  our 
frontier)  on  21st.  Secret  mission 
Dilt.  Watch  frontier.  If  found 
on  British  territory,  turn  back. 
Use  every  possible  effort  prevent 
success.  Important.  Acknow- 
ledge. BRAIDWOOD.  Peshawur." 

So  !  here  was  work  at  last,  and 
pretty  ticklish  work  too,  as  Arm- 
strong well  knew.  Many  a  man 
in  his  place  would  have  tele- 
graphed back  for  more  explicit 
instructions ;  but  he  was  not  one 
of  that  sort,  and  merely  sending 
a  curt  acknowledgment  of  the 
receipt  of  the  message,  he  set  to 
work  to  think  things  out.  This 
was  the  17th,  and  on  the  21st  the 
Russian  agent  was  expected  to 
leave  Reshat ;  and  here  Arm- 
strong spread  out  his  map  of  the 
district,  and  endeavoured  to  calcu- 
late distances  on  it — no  very  easy 
task,  as  neither  in  Russian  nor  in 
Dilti  territory  were  British  topog- 
raphers exactly  welcome  guests. 
It  was  evident  that  any  person 
going  from  Reshat  to  Dilt  must 
at  a  certain  point  pass  very  close 
to  the  imaginary  British  frontier 
line ;  but  then  the  Diltis  might 
have  arranged  a  meeting  some- 
where outside  their  own  country, 
and  even  if  he  found  the  Russian 
trespassing  on  territory  claimeS 
to  be  under  British  influence,  he 
could  but  warn  him  off,  as  to 
detain  him  forcibly  would  be 
rather  too  arbitrary  a  proceeding. 
If  he  could  only  have  got  some 
reliable  information  from  Reshat ! 
But  it  was  fully  a  week's  journey 
distant,  and  there  was  no  direct 
road  thither,  merely  a  sheep-track, 


occasionally  used  by  Uzbegs  bring- 
ing down  salt  in  the  summer-time. 
For  a  time  he  actually  thought  of 
making  a  dash  for  Dilt  himself, 
on  the  off-chance  of  forestalling 
and  outbidding  the  Russian  agent ; 
but  had  to  dismiss  this  idea,  as  he 
knew  the  Government  would  never 
sanction  such  a  course,  which, 
moreover,  would  probably  only 
result  in  the  murder  of  himself 
and  his  escort.  For  fully  twenty 
minutes  Armstrong  walked  up  and 
down  the  bare  little  room,  revolv- 
ing plans  in  his  mind  and  puffing 
out  huge  volumes  of  smoke,  until 
an  idea  struck  him,  and  summoning 
a  servant,  he  bade  him  find  the 
Havildar  Daoud  Shah,  and  tell 
him  the  Captain  Sahib  would 
speak  with  him  at  once.  Pres- 
ently a  shadow  fell  across  the 
map  over  which  he  was  still  por- 
ing ;  but  he  did  not  look  up  until 
he  had  leisurely  finished  his  inspec- 
tion of  it.  Armstrong  had  not 
lived  among  natives  all  these  years 
without  learning  that  one  should 
never  seem  in  a  hurry.  Then  he 
raised  his  eyes,  and  saw  the  man 
he  had  sent  for  standing  motion- 
less at  attention  in  the  doorway. 

Now  Armstrong  had  been  agree- 
ably surprised  on  his  arrival  at 
Fort  Chardagh  to  find  in  the  Hav- 
ildar of  the  newly  raised  native 
levy  an  old  acquaintance  in  the 
shape  of  Daoud  Shah,  who  some 
years  previously  had  acted  for 
three  seasons  in  succession  as  his 
shikari  when  ibex-stalking  in  Bal- 
tistan,  when  a  strong  feeling  of 
mutual  regard  had  sprung  up  be- 
tween the  two  men.  A  Pathan 
of  the  Pathans,  recking  nothing 
of  human  life,  and  an  outcast  from 
his  own  district  on  account  of  a 
blood-feud,  Daoud  Shah  had,  like 
many  of  his  compatriots,  drifted 
into  the  British  service,  prepared 
to  be  true  to  his  salt ;  but  probably 
equally  ready  to  fight  against  it 


42 


Checkmated :  A  Linnceus  rf  the  Hindu  Kush. 


[July 


when  his  term  of  service  was  over, 
if  inclination  prompted  him  to  do 
so.  None  the  less,  he  had  a  great 
respect  for  the  English  sirkar  and 
its  officers,  and  above  all  for  Arm- 
strong Sahib,  who  at  the  risk  of 
his  own  life  had  once  rescued  him 
from  what  seemed  certain  death  on 
a  treacherous  snow-slope.  Daoud 
Shah  had  sprained  his  ankle,  and 
Armstrong  had  bound  up  the 
injured  limb  with  strips  torn  from 
his  own  putties,  and  stayed  by  his 
shikari  all  night  on  a  ledge  of 
rock  13,000  feet  above  sea-level, 
until  morning  dawned,  and  he  was 
able  to  get  down  to  the  valley 
below,  and  return  with  help  for 
the  disabled  man. 

"  Come  in,  havildar,  and  shut 
the  door,"  said  Armstrong ;  and 
then,  as  the  Pathan  obeyed,  he 
continued  unconcernedly,  "  Have 
you  ever  been  in  Reahat  1 " 

The  havildar  replied  that  he  had, 
and  that,  moreover,  he  had  kinsmen 
living  there  at  the  present  time. 
This  was  news  indeed,  and  Arm- 
strong's eyes  could  hardly  prevent 
a  flash ;  but  he  went  on  quite 
coolly,  "And  in  how  short  a  time 
could  a  strong  man,  knowing  the 
mountains,  go  from  here  to  Reshat 
and  return  T' 

The  havildar  paused  ere  reply- 
ing, and  striding  to  the  open  win- 
dow, gazed  eagerly  forth  at  the 
great  range  of  the  Hindu  Kush, 
which  blocked  the  northern  ex- 
tremity of  the  valley.  Then,  as 
though  satisfied  with  his  inspection, 
he  replied  :  "  By  the  favour  of  God, 
in  such  a  season  as  this,  while  the 
snow  lies  high  on  the  summits, 
and  in  good  weather,  a  man  " — he 
paused  and  looked  his  officer  in 
the  eyes — "  such  as  you  or  I,  sahib, 
who  is  not  afraid  of  the  mountains, 
could  go  to  Reshat  and  return  in 
five  days  ;  but  such  as  those " — 
and  he  jerked  his  head  disdain- 
fully at  the  Chardaghi  levy  in  the 


barrack-square  below — "would  be 
fifteen  days  on  the  journey." 

Five  days,  and  to-day  was  the 
1 7th  !  there  might  yet  be  time ; 
but  Armstrong  betrayed  no  emo- 
tion as  he  went  quietly  on,  "  And 
from  Reshat  to  Dilt,  how  long  for 
a  party,  probably  of  mounted 
men?" 

It  was  now  the  Havildar's  turn 
to  feel  surprise ;  but  he  too  be- 
trayed none,  as  he  slowly  answered, 
"That,  Captain  Sahib,  I  cannot 
truthfully  say,  for  I  do  not  know 
the  path,  nor  can  I  say  whether 
it  be  practicable  for  mounted  men, 
but  not  less  than  four  days." 

Armstrong  asked  no  further 
questions,  but  paced  once  or  twice 
thoughtfully  up  and  down  the 
room.  Should  he  take  the  Pathan 
into  his  confidence  or  not  1  John 
Armstrong  had  not  been  born  on 
the  northern  slopes  of  the  Cheviots 
for  nothing,  and  few  men  had  the 
bump  of  cautiousness  more  fully 
developed  than  he  ;  but  experience 
had  taught  him  that  there  are 
exceptions  to  every  rule,  even  to 
that  of  never  trusting  a  Pathan. 
Moreover,  he  had  a  real  liking  for 
Daoud  Shah,  the  liking  which  one 
strong  man  has  for  another  who 
has  cheerfully  risked  life  and  limb, 
by  ledge  and  ice-slope  and  snow- 
slide,  with  him  for  weeks  at  a 
time,  and  then  too  he  instinctively 
felt  that  the  Pathan  had  the  same 
feeling  for  him.  His  mind  was 
quickly  made  up,  and  suddenly 
halting  and  looking  Daoud  Shah 
straight  in  the  eyes,  he  said : 
"Havildar,  I  am  minded  to  in- 
trust you  with  a  more  than  com- 
mon service.  It  has  come  to  my 
ears  that  an  agent  of  the  Russian 
sirkar  goes  from  Reshat  to  Dilt 
within  the  week  to  stir  up  the 
Diltis  against  us.  Now,  this  I 
must  prevent  at  .all  hazards ;  and 
if  such  a  man  as  you,  whom  I  have 
trusted  with  this  secret,  were  to  go 


1898.] 


Checkmated :  A  Linnceus  of  the  Hindu  Kush. 


43 


to  Reshat  and  return  within  five 
days,  bringing  me  accurate  know- 
ledge of  his  route,  I  might  be  able 
to  do  so." 

The  Pathan's  eyes  flashed  for  a 
moment,  and  then  drawing  himself 
together,  he  answered  proudly : 
"Captain  Sahib,  you  did  me  a 
great  service  once,  and  that  have 
I  not  forgotten,  and  much  honour 
do  you  do  me  now  in  speaking  to 
me  thus,  and  this  also  I  will  re- 
member. This  much  only  can  I 
say,  that  if  by  the  favour  of  God 
I  am  able  to  get  to  Reshat  other 
than  by  the  usual  path,  within 
five  days  you  shall  know  your 
heart's  desire,  and  that  without 
the  knowledge  of  any  other  man." 
Then  with  a  sudden  change  of 
manner  he  asked  deferentially  "  if 
the  Captain  Sahib  would  get  him 
the  furlough  leave  from  the  Lieu- 
tenant Sahib  whilst  he  went  to 
change  his  uniform  1 "  and  within 
half  an  hour  he  had  left  the  fort 
so  disguised  that  it  would  have 
puzzled  even  one  of  his  comrades 
to  have  recognised  in  the  dirty 
unkempt  tribesman  the  smart 
well-set-up  Havildar  of  the  Char- 
dagh  Rifles. 

The  fifth  morning  after  his  de- 
parture came  without  any  news  of 
him,  and  Armstrong,  despite  his 
belief  in  the  man,  was  beginning 
to  feel  a  little  anxious ;  but  towards 
evening  Daoud  Shah  returned,  a 
little  thin  and  fine-drawn  about 
the  face,  as  a  man  might  well  be 
who  for  the  best  part  of  a  week 
had  been  almost  incessantly  tra- 
velling over  the  worst  parts  of  the 
Hindu  Kush,  but  otherwise  show- 
ing no  signs  of  fatigue. 

"Well,  havildar,  what  news?" 
asked  Armstrong  in  his  usual  un- 
concerned manner,  though  his 
heart  was  throbbing  violently,  as 
the  man  sprang  to  attention  at  his 
approach. 

"My  news   is   this,   sahib,"  he 


answered.  "I  have  been  to  Reshat, 
and  by  the  favour  of  God  have 
found  out  this.  For  the  past  year 
there  has  been  a  Russian  officer 
going  and  coming  between  Reshat 
and  the  north.  But  three  days 
since  he  came  again,  and  though 
he  would  fain  keep  it  secret,  yet 
it  was  known  in  the  bazaar  that 
he  rides  to  Dilt  with  but  four  of 
an  escort ;  Turcomans  be  they,  not 
Russians,  as  dark  as  an  Afridi  but 
not  so  strong.  Five  days  must  he 
be  on  the  road,  on  which  horses 
travel  slower  than  men,  and  on 
the  fifth  day  it  is  believed,  but 
this  I  cannot  say  for  certain,  he 
meets  certain  of  the  tribesmen  at 
the  bridge  over  the  Pashkend 
river,  who  lead  him  to  a  durbar 
at  Dilt.  Moreover,  the  man  who 
guides  him  is  of  my  blood,  and 
he  will  lead  him  so  that  on  to- 
morrow evening  he  will  pass  along 
the  hollow  path  which  is  but  three 
miles  from  the  ruined  tower  where 
the  sahib  slept  last  month  when 
he  went  to  look  for  ibex." 

Armstrong  nodded  to  show  he 
remembered  the  place,  and  then 
asked  if  Daoud  Shah  had  seen 
the  Russian  officer. 

"  I  did,  sahib,"  was  his  reply ; 
"  he  is  of  your  height  and  shape, 
but  older,  and  of  weak  vision, 
wearing  blue  chashmaks "  (spec- 
tacles). 

"Good;  you 'have  done  well, 
very  well,  Havildar,"  said  Arm- 
strong, approvingly,  "  and  this 
service  neither  the  sirkar  nor  I 
will  easily  forget.  Say  nothing 
to  any  man  of  where  you  have 
been,  and  go  and  get  food  and 
rest ;  but  first  tell  the  Lieutenant 
Sahib  I  would  speak  with  him." 

Ten  minutes  later  the  Lieuten- 
ant Sahib — a  sandy-haired,  smooth- 
faced English  lad — was  listening, 
wholly  delighted  and  half  incredu- 
lous, to  certain  instructions  from 
the  Political  officer.  Indeed  he 


44 


Checkmated:  A  Linnceus  of  the  Hindu  Rush. 


[July 


could  not  repress  a  chuckle  of 
ecstatic  admiration  when  Arm- 
strong dismissed  him  with  the 
final  injunction,  "  Then  you  quite 
understand  that  if  I  have  not 
returned  by  Thursday  morning, 
or  if  you  have  not  received  a 
message  in  writing  from  me  by 
the  same  date,  you  will  send  this 
cipher  telegram  to  Colonel  Braid- 
wood  at  Peshawur  ;  "  and  before 
sunrise  of  the  next  morning  Arm- 
strong, accompanied  by  Daoud 
Shah  and  a  little  band  of  twelve 
picked  men,  all  specially  selected 
by  the  Havildar,  and  clad  alike  in 
mufti — Afghan  mufti,  be  it  under- 
stood— had  left  the  fort,  and  were 
already  many  miles  away  among 
the  northern  mountains. 

Late  in  the  afternoon  of  the 
same  day  a  little  company  of  five 
men  on  horseback  was  slowly 
making  its  way,  under  the  guid- 
ance of  a  sullen -faced  Pathan, 
through  one  of  the  most  desolate 
and  uninhabited  districts  of  the 
Hindu  Rush.  The  mounted  men, 
consisting  of  four  swarthy-visaged 
Asiatics,  and  a  European  officer 
wearing  blue  spectacles,  all  dressed 
alike  in  dark-green  uniforms  with 
cartridge-bandoliers  crossing  their 
breasts,  and  baggy  trousers  stuffed 
into  high  boots,  rode  leisurely 
along.  The  men,  wearied  by  their 
long  day's  march,  great  part  of 
which  had  perforce  been  done  on 
foot,  leading  their  horses,  lolled  in 
their  saddles,  thinking  hopefully 
of  the  time,  now  close  at  hand — 
so  their  guide  assured  them — when 
they  would  reach  their  halting- 
place  for  the  night.  Even  their 
officer  seemed  to  have  relaxed  his 
usual  vigilance,  riding  bent  for- 
ward in  the  saddle,  and  absorbed 
in  his  own  reflections. 

For  ten  long  years  Major  Alexis 
Stephanoff,  despite  occasional  more 
or  less  exciting  interludes  like  the 
present,  had  been  exiled  from  all 


that,  in  his  opinion,  made  life 
worth  living,  and  at  last  the 
chance  of  regaining  this  seemed 
fairly  within  his  grasp.  A  smart 
young  officer  in  the  Pre"obajensky 
Guards,  he  had  fallen  into  disgrace 
at  St  Petersburg,  inasmuch  as, 
not  content  with  high  play,  general 
fast  living,  and  consequent  neglect 
of  his  military  duties,  he  had  actu- 
ally dared  to  indulge  in  the  hein- 
ous offence  of  dabbling  —  very 
mildly,  be  it  said — in  politics,  and 
but  that  he  had  friends  in  high 
places,  would  probably  have  been 
transferred  to  Siberia,  instead  of, 
as  was  the  case,  to  Central  Asia. 

Here,  however,  he  bad  done  his 
best  to  purge  himself  of  his  youth- 
ful betises,  and  gradually  acquired 
the  reputation  of  a  zealous  and 
useful  officer.  He  soon  developed 
a  marked  aptitude  for  dealing  with 
Asiatics,  having  naturally  a  pretty 
talent  for  diplomacy  of  the  Rus- 
sian order,  which  simply  consists 
in  secretly  doing  what  you  have 
openly  promised  not  to  do,  and 
possessing  in  addition  a  marvellous 
gift  of  acquiring  tongues.  By  dint 
of  these  accomplishments  he  had 
successfully  engineered  one  or  two 
rather  delicate  operations,  so  that 
in  course  of  time  he  had  risen  to 
be  Secret  Intelligence  officer  on  the 
Himalayan  border — a  post  he  had 
filled  so  well,  that  it  had  been 
almost  officially  notified  to  him 
that  if  he  proved  successful  in  his 
present  mission  of  adding  to  the 
British  complications  on  their 
frontier,  he  would  be  recalled  to 
Europe,  and  reinstated  in  his  old 
regiment. 

Stephanoff  had  not  the  slightest 
doubts  as  to  his  success  :  he  knew 
well  enough  that  for  the  bribe  he 
was  empowered  to  offer — 1000 
breechloading  rifles  with  ammu- 
nition for  the  same,  and  1000 
rupees  a-month  as  long  as  they 
continued  offensive  operations 
against  the  English  —  the  Diltis 


1898.] 


Checkinated :  A  Linnceus  of  the  Hindu  Kush. 


45 


would  have  proclaimed  war  against 
Mahomet  himself;  and  although 
they  had  forbidden  his  entrance 
into  their  country  with  a  larger 
escort  than  four  men,  he  felt  no 
misgivings  on  the  score  of  his  per- 
sonal safety.  He  was  accustomed 
to  dealing  with  lawless  Asiatics, 
and  was,  besides,  a  brave  man, 
rather  enjoying  a  spice  of  danger 
in  his  work.  Even  now,  although 
their  road  lay  along  a  track  so 
narrow  as  only  to  admit  of  their 
riding  in  single  file — a  track,  more- 
over, with  high  banks  densely 
fringed  with  pine  scrub  on  either 
side  —  Stephanoff  rode  unsuspi- 
ciously along,  following  the  plod- 
ding shoulders  of  the  Pathan 
guide,  while  his  mind,  wearied 
like  his  body  by  four  long  days  in 
the  saddle,  had  ceased  to  take  note 
of  the  present,  and  was  occupied 
with  vague  considerations  of  the 
future. 

"This  time  six  months  hence," 
he  thought,  "  I  shall  be  back  in 
St  Petersburg  with  the  rank  of 
colonel,  and,  who  knows,  perhaps 
aide-de-camp  to  the  Czar.  Ah, 
how  good  it  will  be  to  find  one- 
self once  more  among  civilised 
people,  and  away  from  the  savages 
with  whom  I  have  mixed  for  the 
last  nine  years !  Then  I  will 
marry  my  cousin  Olga,  who  must 
be  of  age  now,  and  whose  estates 
must  have  increased  enormously 
in  value  since  her  father's  death ; 
and  I  will  obtain  long  leave,  and 
go  to  Paris,  and  Monte  Carlo,  and 
Biarritz,  until  the  time  when  our 
Government  thinks  fit  for  us  to 
take  India.  By  then  I  may  per- 
haps be  a  general  of  division, 

and "      Crash  !    to    this    day 

Sfcephanoff  can  hardly  explain 
what  happened.  He  had  a  mo- 
mentary awful  glimpse  of  a  great 
black-bearded  man  leaping  on  to 
him  from  the  top  of  the  bank,  with 
such  impetus  as  to  nearly  bear  him 
and  his  horse  to  the  ground,  and 


the  next  moment  he  was  seized 
from  behind  in  a  vice-like  grip,  a 
sack  was  drawn  over  his  head, 
and  his  hands  were  bound  behind 
him.  Blinded  and  powerless  to 
move,  and  absolutely  bewildered 
by  the  suddenness  of  the  attack, 
he  could  only  sit  still  and  listen 
as  in  a  dream  to  the  sound  of 
struggling  men  and  trampling 
horses  behind  him  ;  but  this  soon 
ceased.  Once  a  rifle  cracked,  and 
he  heard  two  or  three  cries  from 
his  men,  and  then  in  the  compara- 
tive stillness  that  followed  he 
vaguely  recognised  that  they  had 
been  overcome,  and  were  being 
bound  like  himself ;  and  presently 
his  horse,  evidently  led  between 
two  men,  began  to  move  slowly 
forward. 

Stephanoff  was  a  brave  man, 
and  had  faced  death  many  times, 
yet  as  he  was  led  helpless  along, 
blinded  and  half-stifled  by  the  sack 
in  which  his  head  was  enveloped, 
his  hands  tied  behind  his  back, 
and  his  feet  bound  under  his 
horse's  belly,  he  can  hardly  be 
blamed  for  secretly  giving  way  to 
despair.  He  recognised  that  he 
had  been  tricked  by  the  Diltis; 
he  reflected,  not  without  misgiv- 
ings, on  their  character,  notorious 
even  amongst  Af ridis  for  treachery 
and  cruelty,  and  of  their  boast 
that  no  white  man  had  ever  en- 
tered their  country  since  Alex- 
ander the  Great,  and  he  cursed 
the  ill  fate  that  was  to  rob  him, 
possibly  of  life,  and  certainly 
of  success,  at  the  very  moment 
when  the  latter  had  seemed  fairly 
within  his  grasp.  Perhaps  his 
bitterest  reflection  was  that  he 
had  a  number  of  important  papers 
about  his  person — secret  instruc- 
tions and  despatches,  his  own 
notes  and  diary,  and  so  forth ; 
and  although  he  always  took  the 
simple  precaution  of  copying  these 
into  French  —  a  language  by  no 
means  current  in  Central  Asia — 


4G 


Checkmated:  A  Linnaeus  of  the  Hindu  Ktish. 


[July 


yet  he  was  sufficiently  conversant 
with  the  Afridi  character  to  know 
that  they  never  destroy  documents, 
and  the  thought  that  his  papers 
might  one  day  drift  into  the  hands 
of  some  stray  British  official  was 
almost  more  than  the  wretched  man 
could  bear,  and  he  promised  him- 
self that  he  would  make  a  supreme 
effort  at  all  costs  to  destroy  them 
when  opportunity  might  offer. 

But  it  seemed  as  though  there 
was  to  be  no  end  to  his  ill-luck ; 
for  when,  after  about  an  hour's 
painful  ride,  they  came  to  a  halt, 
and  he  was  lifted  off  his  horse  and 
carried  into  a  building,  his  captors' 
first  act  was  to  carefully  divest  him 
of  his  uniform,  even  down  to  his 
boots,  and  the  unhappy  Stephanoff 
felt  instinctively  that  his  papers 
were  lost  to  him  for  ever. 

Then,  and  not  till  then,  was  the 
covering  removed  from  his  head, 
when  he  found  himself  seated  on 
a  pile  of  rugs  and  sheepskins  in 
a  large  empty  room,  apparently 
forming  part  of  one  of  the  ruined 
towers  not  uncommon  in  parts  of 
Afghanistan  and  the  neighbouring 
countries.  Aro.und  him  was  a  group 
of  beetle-browed  Pathans,  who  re- 
garded him  with  the  most  stolid 
indifference,  and  turned  an  ab- 
solutely deaf  ear  to  the  remarks 
which  he  addressed  to  them  in 
every  Eastern  tongue,  from  Push- 
too to  Persian,  of  which  he  was 
master.  Very  soon,  however,  an- 
other native  entered,  bearing  a 
bundle  of  fairly  clean  native 
clothes,  including  a  huge  wadded 
caftan,  in  which  the  unfortunate 
Russian,  who  began  to  find  his 
underclothing  rather  an  airy  dress 
for  the  Hindu  Kush,  was  fain,  not 
without  an  inward  shudder,  to 
dress  himself.  The  last  comer, 
who  appeared  to  be  a  person  of 
some  authority,  having  previously 
ordered  the  others  to  leave  the 
room,  then  addressed  Stephanoff, 
and  finding  himself  understood, 


assured  him  that  no  harm  would 
be  done  to  him  or  his  men,  who 
were  all  unhurt,  provided  they  did 
not  attempt  to  escape.  He  paid 
not  the  slightest  attention  to  the 
Russian's  remonstrances,  and  in 
answer  to  his  indignant  question 
of  why  he  had  been  brought  there 
and  how  long  he  would  be  de- 
tained, merely  replied  piously, 
"God  knows";  until  at  last  Ste- 
phanoff, who  was  a  sufficiently 
old  campaigner  to  accept  the  in- 
evitable, relapsed  into  silence,  first, 
however,  asking  for  some  food. 
This  was  promptly  supplied,  of 
better  quality  and  better  cooked 
than  he  could  have  expected  ;  and 
his  captors  having  generously 
added  a  box  of  his  own  cigarettes, 
which  apparently  had  no  charms 
for  them,  he  presently  rolled  him- 
self up  in  his  rugs,  and,  wearied 
alike  in  mind  and  body,  applied 
himself  not  unsuccessfully  to  woo- 
ing sleep. 

Twenty-four  hours  later  a  band 
of  Pathans,  who  had  been  lying 
idly  all  day,  on  the  ridge  of  the 
Kangi  Pass,  by  which  alone  Dilt 
can  be  approached.from  the  east, 
suddenly  woke  to  activity.  Far 
away  in  the  gut  of  the  pass  their 
keen  eyes  had  noticed  a  little  cloud 
of  dust  and  the  glint  of  a  rifle- 
barrel,  and  each  looked  to  the 
priming  of  his  jezail,  and  smuggled 
closer  down  among  the  rocks  in 
which  they  lay  hidden.  Presently 
a  little  company  of  five  mounted 
men  hove  in  sight,  slowly  making 
its  way  up  the  pass,  and  one  of  the 
watchers  on  the  hillside  grunted 
out,  "  This  must  be  they.  Five 
men  on  horseback,  in  green,  and 
one  a  Feringhi  wearing  blue  chash- 
maks." 

"  Peace,  oh  impatient  one,"  re- 
joined another  older  man  ;  "  let 
them  give  the  signal,  and  then  we 
will  see  whether  they  be  the  true 
men  or  not.  Besides,  they  lack 
one  in  number,  having  no  guide." 


1898.] 


Ckeckmated :  A  Linnceus  of  the  Hindu  Kush. 


47 


But  it  soon  appeared  that  this 
was  the  party  they  were  expect- 
ing, for  as  it  reached  a  ruinous 
bridge  spanning  a  mountain  tor- 
rent, it  halted,  and  the  white 
man,  riding  forward  by  himself  to 
the  middle  of  the  bridge,  fired  six 
shots  from  a  revolver,  three  to  his 
right  and  three  to  his  left,  and 
simultaneously  the  tribesmen  rose 
from  their  hiding-place  and  de- 
scended to  where  the  strangers 
were  awaiting  them.  A  short 
parley  ensued,  while  the  leader  of 
the  latter  explained  that  his  guide 
for  private  reasons  had  refused  to 
accompany  him  to  Dilt,  and  had 
gone  back  to  await  his  return,  half- 
way to  Reshat ;  and  then,  among 
them  the  first  white  man  who  had 
entered  the  country  for  over  two 
thousand  years,  the  whole  party 
moved  slowly  on  into  the  heart  of 
Diltistan. 

The  morrow's  sun  broke  bright 
over  the  valley  of  Dilt,  one  of  a 
type  common  enough  in  Afghani- 
stan and  on  the  north-western  fron- 
tier of  India.  Of  large  extent,  and 
surrounded  by  precipitous  moun- 
tain-ranges, it  is  thickly  studded 
with  fortified  villages,  further  pro- 
tected by  squat-looking  castles  or 
fortresses,  round  which  lie  stretches 
of  rudely  cultivated  land  and  occa- 
sional groves  of  trees;  and  chief 
among  them  is  the  village  which 
not  only  gives  its  name  to  the  dis- 
trict, but  is  the  residence  of  the 
khan  who  wields  more  or  less  nom- 
inal sway  over  the  same.  It  was 
from  the  flat  roof  of  this  poten- 
tate's castle  that  a  gentleman  in  a 
green  uniform,  and  wearing  blue 
spectacles,  surveyed,  not  without 
inward  misgivings,  the  numerous 
jirgahs,  which,  under  the  leader- 
ship of  the  various  maliks  of  the 
valley,  were  making  their  way  to 
an  adjoining  grove  of  walnut-trees, 
where  the  day's  durbar  was  appa- 
rently to  be  held.  He  and  his 
escort  had  arrived  so  late  on  the 


previous  night  that  he  had  not 
been  able,  as  he  had  hoped,  to  gain 
a  private  interview  with  the  khan, 
and  a  further  effort  to  do  so  that 
morning  had  been  met  by  the  hint 
that  all  negotiations  must  be  con- 
ducted in  open  durbar,  a  course 
which  the  blue-spectacled  officer 
had  been  particularly  anxious  to 
avoid.  However,  he  was  not  one 
of  those  who  turn  back  after  put- 
ting their  hand  to  the  plough  :  he 
fully  recognised  that  he  must  go 
through  with  his  appointed  task, 
and  having  had  a  final  interview 
with  one  of  his  own  men — a  great 
strapping  fellow,  more  like  an 
Afghan  than  a  Turcoman — it  was 
with  an  unmoved  face,  whatever 
his  inward  thoughts,  that  he  pre- 
sently took  his  seat  in  the  durbar, 
the  cynosure  of  a  thousand  scowl- 
ing eyes,  and  in  course  of  time 
rose  to  address  it,  in  fluent  Push- 
too. For  the  sake  of  brevity  his 
speech  shall  be  summarised  in 
parliamentary  form.  It  was  to 
this  effect : — 

The  sirkar  of  his  master,  the 
great  White  Czar,  had  sent  him  to 
counsel  the  Khan  of  Dilt  and  his 
tribesmen  not  to  make  war  on  the 
English  sirkar.  (Incredulous  as- 
tonishment). Moreover,  the  Czar 
could  not  send  them  either  the 
rifles  or  the  money  they  had 
been  led  to  expect,  as  when  the 
English  sirkar  came  to  hear  of 
it,  it  would  make  war  on  him, 
and — here  the  speaker  spat  on  the 
ground  with  apparent  disgust — 
who  could  withstand  the  English  1 
(Sensation  !).  True,  they  were  dogs 
and  sons  of  dogs,  but  they  were 
more  countless  in  number  than  the 
sand  of  the  desert,  and  possessed 
in  addition  all  the  riches  of  the 
earth.  Then,  too,  they  were 
devils  incarnate,  knowing  not 
fear :  why,  in  the  last  war  they 
had  made  against  Russia,  but  six 
hundred  of  their  accursed  cavalry 
had  ridden  down  a  whole  army 


48 


Checkmated:  A  Linnceus  of  the  Hindu  Kush. 


[July 


of  his  master's,  the  Czar.  (The 
speaker's  emotion  probably  pre- 
vented him  from  adding  that 
nearly  half  a  century  had  passed 
since  then.)  (Derisive  murmurs.) 
In  fine,  the  Diltis  were  to  un- 
derstand that  neither  now  nor  in 
the  future  were  they  to  expect 
any  assistance  from  the  Russian 
sirkar,  which,  moreover,  could  not 
entirely  overlook  the  fact  that, 
odious  as  they  were,  the  English 
were  Christians,  and  believers  in 
the  same  God  as  the  Russians. 
After  a  few  more  remarks,  show- 
ing that,  however  much  the  Czar's 
Government  disliked  the  English 
sirkar,  it  was  equally  afraid  of  it, 
and  was,  moreover,  much  rent 
with  internal  strife  at  home,  the 
speaker  advised  his  hearers  to  re- 
turn to  the  reaping  and  storing 
of  their  crops,  and  not  to  run  the 
risk  of  provoking  the  might  of  the 
English. 

For  some  time  after  the  speaker 
had  resumed  his  seat  his  life  hung 
by  the  proverbial  hair,  a  fact  of 
which  he  was  perfectly  aware. 
The  Diltis  felt  they  had  been 
grossly  tricked  and  deceived  :  they 
had  only  reluctantly  allowed  this 
infidel  to  come  amongst  them  as 
a  guarantee  that  his  sirkar  would 
fulfil  its  promise  of  sending  them 
rifles  and  ammunition,  with  which 
they  were  less  well  supplied  than 
other  and  more  civilised — if  such 
an  expression  can  be  used — Afridi 
tribes  ;  and,  behold,  in  the  place  of 
bread  he  had  offered  them  a  stone, 
and  advised  them  to  be  good  boys 
and  attend  to  their  sowing  and 
reaping.  They  had  no  especial 
animosity  against  the  English  more 
than  any  other  infidels ;  but  they 
had  rather  looked  forward  to  fight- 
ing them,  particularly  when  (and 
the  exquisite  humour  of  this  had 
specially  appealed  to  them)  other 
unbelievers  were  willing  to  supply 
them  with  rifles  and  money  for 
doing  so ;  but,  on  the  other  hand, 


they  were  not  prepared  to  embark 
on  such  an  undertaking  armed  only 
with  their  own  clumsy  jezails  and 
a  few  Cabul-made  Martini  rifles. 
Their  rage  and  disappointment 
knew  no  bounds,  and  many  of  them 
seemed  inclined  to  take  the  loudly 
expressed  advice  of  one  of  their 
mullahs  to  at  once  slay  the  infidel, 
who  sat  still,  outwardly  calm  and 
unmoved,  but  nervously  fingering 
the  revolver  in  the  pocket  of  his 
long  green  coat,  calculating  how 
many  of  his  assailants  he  would  be 
able  to  account  for  before  they  cut 
him  down.  At  last,  however,  the 
khan  and  some  of  the  maliks  man- 
aged to  restore  some  semblance  of 
quiet,  while  the  former  addressed 
the  stranger. 

"  Now,  by  Allah  al  Munit ! — by 
God  the  Dispenser  of  justice  ! "  he 
said,  "  were  it  not  that  thou  hast 
eaten  of  my  salt  and  dipped  in  the 
same  dish  with  me,  and  hast, 
moreover,  shown  thyself  a  man  in 
that  thou  hast  not  feared  to  come 
among  us  with  such  a  pitiful  tale, 
I  would  send  thee  back  to  the 
hound  thy  master  with  thine  ears 
and  thy  nose^in  thy  hands,  to  show 
him  how  much  we  Diltis  regard 
the  aid  of  such  white-livered  in- 
fidels as  he.  Infidels,  too,  are 
those  sons  of  dogs  the  English, 
whom  thy  sirkar  so  greatly  dreads  ; 
but  they  at  least  be  men,  fearing 
no  others,  and  keeping  their  pro- 
mises. Now  begone,  and  tell  thy 
master  what  things  thou  hast 
seen  in  Dilt,  for  of  a  truth  none 
of  thy  accursed  breed  shall  ever 
set  foot  in  it  again." 

Now  there  was  nothing  that 
the  man  in  the  green  uniform  de- 
sired more  ardently,  now  that  his 
business  was  at  an  end,  than  to 
get  himself  and  his  men  out  of  Dilt 
with  whole  skins,  though  he  pri- 
vately entertained  but  small  hope 
of  being  able  to  do  so,  seeing  that 
the  khan  held  but  nominal  sway 
over  most  of  the  assembled  tribes- 


1898.] 


Checkmated :  A  Linnaeus  of  the  Hindu  Rush. 


49 


men.  But  after  one  of  the  most 
mauvais  quarts  d'heure  he  had 
ever  experienced,  milder  counsels 
prevailed,  and  by  one  of  those 
strange  inconsistencies  so  common 
in  the  Afridi  character,  the  very 
men  who  but  a  short  time  before 
had  been  clamouring  for  his  death 
allowed  him  and  his  escort  to 
leave,  with  no  worse  accompani- 
ment than  the  jeers  and  mud 
flung  after  them  by  the  children  : 
none  the  less,  it  was  not  until 
after  many  hours'  hard  riding, 
"  with  their  beards  upon  their 
shoulder,"  that  they  were  able  to 
feel  themselves  in  comparative 
safety. 

The  fourth  morning  of  Major 
StephanofTs  captivity  had  come, 
and  he  was  lying  on  his  carpet 
bed  listlessly  smoking  one  of  his 
few  remaining  cigarettes.  Stephan- 
ofF  was  not  so  downcast  as  many 
another  man  would  have  been  in 
his  position.  He  had  quickly  re- 
cognised that  no  personal  injury 
was  intended,  either  to  him  or  his 
men :  indeed  his  guardians  had 
treated  him  with  a  rude  considera- 
tion that  had  astonished  him  ;  and 
his  early  sense  of  bitter  rage  and 
disappointment  had  gradually 
merged  into  a  sort  of  philosophi- 
cal curiosity  as  to  how  it  was  all 
going  to  end,  due  partly  to  his 
training  and  partly  to  the  vein  of 
oriental  fatalism  inherent  in  all 
Russians.  Escape  he  plainly  saw 
was  impossible,  and  neither  threats 
nor  bribes  had  produced  any  effect 
on  his  jailer,  a  thick-lipped  Jewish- 
looking  Afghan ;  nor  could  he  ex- 
tract any  information  from  him 
as  to  where  he  was,  or  by  whose 
orders  he  was  detained  there.  He 
had  finally  made  up  his  mind  that 
the  whole  thing  was  in  some  way 
intended  as  a  piece  of  barbaric 
diplomacy  on  the  part  of  the  Khan 
of  Dilt,  and  as  he  lay  there  appa- 

VOL.  CLXIV. NO.  DCCCCXCIII. 


rently  idly  watching  the  sunlight 
streaming  in  through  a  loophole 
high  up  in  the  wall  of  his  prison, 
his  busy  brain  was  really  at  work 
trying  to  discover  the  khan's  reason 
for  such  an  act,  and  how  he  could 
best  checkmate  it,  when  the  sound 
of  a  not  very  far  distant  rifle-shot, 
followed  by  a  spluttering  fire  from 
the  roof  of  his  prison,  suddenly 
set  every  nerve  in  his  body  ting- 
ling and  racing  with  excitement. 
A  moment's  breathless  suspense, 
followed  by  the  crash  of  a  much 
nearer  and  well-delivered  volley, 
evidently  the  work  of  trained 
troops,  caused  the  delighted  Rus- 
sian  to  conclude  that  his  mishap 
had  been  heard  of  at  Reshat,  and 
that  a  party  had  been  sent  thence 
to  his  rescue.  For  several  madden- 
ing minutes  the  unseen  engage- 
ment raged  fiercely ;  but  the  fire 
from  the  tower  gradually  slackened 
before  the  steady  section  volleys 
of  the  attacking  force,  and  at  last 
ceased  altogether.  Hoarsely  shouted 
directions  rang  through  the  build- 
ing, there  was  a  rush  of  sandalled 
feet  and  a  swish  of  long-skirted 
robes  :  presently  one  or  two  drop- 
ping shots  rang  out  at  some  dis- 
tance from  the  tower,  and  then  in 
the  silence  that  ensued  StephanofF 
realised  the  fact  that  his  mysterious 
captors  had  evacuated  the  place 
and  taken  to  flight.  A  few  anxious 
moments  passed,  and  then  came 
the  steady  tramp  of  drilled  and 
booted  feet  outside.  Some  orders 
were  given  in  Pushtoo  by  an  un- 
mistakably European  voice,  his 
prison  door  was  wrenched  open, 
and — in  place  of  the  fellow-coun- 
trymen the  major  had  fondly  hoped 
to  behold,  he  was  confronted  by  a 
sandy-haired,  freckle-faced  youth 
clad  in  a  kharki  uniform,  which 
the  disgusted  Stephanoff  recognised 
as  British,  and  who  addressed  him 
in  a  tongue  which  even  such  a 
master  of  languages  as  he  almost 
D 


50 


Checkmated:  A  Linnaeus  of  the  Hindu  Rush. 


[July 


failed  to  recognise  as  French — as 
"  she  is  spoke  "  at  Sandhurst. 

"  Esker  vous  etes  ler  travelleur 

Frongsay,  ker — ker '  Here  he 

stopped  for  further  inspiration, 
and  Stephanoff  broke  in  with  a 
pleasant  smile,  "  Excuse  me,  I 
speak  English  ;  but  I  am  a 
Russian,  not  a  Frenchman." 

"  Oh,  well,"  rejoined  the  new- 
comer, obviously  relieved  at  re- 
lapsing into  his  native  tongue,  "  I 
am  awf 'ly  glad  to  see  you,  whoever 
you  are.  My  name  is  Brown,  and 
I  am  in  command  of  the  native 
levy  at  Fort  Chardagh  ;  that's  our 
nearest  post  to  here,  you  know." 
The  Russian  nodded,  as  though  to 
affirm  that  he  thought  he  had 
heard  vague  rumours  of  the  exist- 
ence of  such  a  place,  though  as  a 
matter  of  fact  but  two  months 
before  he  had  forwarded  a  most 
accurate  sketch  of  it  to  the  Intelli- 
gence Department  at  St  Peters- 
burg. "  We  heard,"  went  on  the 
unblushing  lieutenant,  "  that  some 
of  these  thundering  thieves  of  Pa- 
thans  had  collared  a  foreigner,  and 
got  him  shut  up  in  this  old  tower, 
so  our  Political  officer  at  the  fort 
sent  me  off  at  once  to  try  and 
rescue  him.  When  did  they  nail 
you  ?  Four  days  ago  1  By  Jove  ! 
what  a  filthy  time  you  must  have 
had  !  Lucky  for  you  they  didn't 
cut  your  throat  at  once.  Looted 
all  your  kit,  too,  I  see.  Well,  it's 
a  good  job  it's  no  worse ;  and  per- 
haps my  fellows  will  catch  some  of 
them  before  they  get  into  the 
hills.  Halloa !  what's  this  ?  Why, 
they've  got  some  of  them  already 
apparently,"  he  went  on,  viewing 
with  an  air  of  intense  surprise  the 
four  Turcomans  of  the  Russian's 
escort  who  were  being  dragged  out 
of  the  tower  by  his  own  men. 

The  major's  cheek  reddened 
ever  so  slightly  at  the  sight,  but 
he  suavely  broke  in  :  "  Allow  me 
to  introduce  myself.  I  am  Major 
Alexis  Stephanoff,  and  for  some 


time  I  have  been  employed  by 
my  Government  in  botanical  re- 
searches in  Central  Asia.  These 
men  formed  the  military  escort 
without  which  I  was  not  allowed 
to  travel,  and  which" — he  gave 
a  deprecatory  smile — "  has  not 
proved  of  much  use.  Like  myself, 
they  appear  to  have  been  stripped 
of  their  uniforms,  which  accounts 
for  their  ragged  appearance." 

"Oh,  well,  it's  all  right,"  said 
the  Englishman  to  his  native 
corporal ;  "  these  are  the  sahib's 
attendants  :  let  them  go,  and  treat 
them  well.  Eh !  what !  Found 
the  sahib's  horses,  and  his  clothes  ? 
Well,  that  is  rum  !  I  s'pose  they 
didn't  fit  any  of  the  Pathan  gentle- 
men. Well,  p'raps  you'd  like  to 
go  and  put  'em  on  again.  My 
men  shall  bring  you  some  water 
to  wash  in.  Oh  no,  no  thanks 
at  all ; "  and  then,  as  the  smirk- 
ing Russian  disappeared  into  the 
tower,  Lieutenant  Brown,  who  was 
probably  a  greater  adept  at  polo 
than  at  diplomacy,  wiped  his 
freckled  countenance,  lit  a  che- 
root, and  murmured  to  himself 
with  much  emphasis,  "  Botanical 
researches  !  Well,  I  AM  d — d  ! " 

But  when  Major  Stephanoff  pre- 
sently reappeared,  clothed,  shaved, 
and  hardly  recognisable,  the  lieu- 
tenant's diplomatic  talents  were 
once  more  called  into  play.  The 
Russian,  who  fancied  he  had  suf- 
ficiently gauged  his  new  acquaint- 
ance's simplicity  in  their  short 
interview,  proposed,  after  a  neat 
speech  in  which  he  referred  in 
moving  terms  to  the  mutual  affec- 
tion of  Russia  and  Great  Britain, 
to  return  incontinently  with  his 
men  to  Reshat, — a  proposal,  how- 
ever, which  Mr  Brown  promptly 
negatived,  pointing  out  to  the  dis- 
gusted major  that  ere  he  had  got 
a  dozen  miles  he  would  be  in- 
fallibly recaptured  by  the  Pathans, 
who  were  probably  watching  them 
from  some  coign  of  vantage  at 


1898.] 


Checkmated :  A  Linnaeus  of  the  Hindu  Kush. 


51 


that  very  moment,  and  who 
would  certainly  not  treat  him  a 
second  time  with  the  same  con- 
sideration ;  and  that  above  all  he 
(Lieutenant  Brown)  was  powerless 
in  the  matter,  as  he  had  received 
strict  orders  from  his  superior 
officer  to  bring  the  stranger,  if  he 
found  him  alive,  down  to  Fort 
Chardagh,  in  order  that  the  out- 
rage might  be  thoroughly  investi- 
gated. All  Stephanoff's  protests 
were  useless, — in  vain  did  he  use 
every  form  of  argument ;  the  lieu- 
tenant was  as  firm  as  he  was  good- 
tempered.  "  Oh,  you  must  tell  all 
this  to  my  chief,"  was  his  only 
reply  ;  "  you  come  down  with  me 
and  recruit  yourself  a  bit.  We 
can't  give  you  anything  fit  to  eat ; 
but  there's  some  fizz  we  brought 
up  as  medical  comforts,  and  we'll 
crush  a  bottle  or  two  of  that"; 
and  finally  the  shoulder-shrugging 
Russian  could  not  but  comply. 

Arrived  at  the  fort,  he  was  re- 
ceived with  the  utmost  empresse- 
ment  by  the  courteous  Political 
officer,  who  was  filled  with  sym- 
pathy for  the  Russian  subject  on 
whom  such  an  outrage  had  been 
committed.  He  would  at  once 
communicate,  he  assured  him,  with 
the  Indian  Government,  to  ascer- 
tain what  course  to  pursue  ;  but  it 
appeared  from  the  evidence  of  the 
troops  despatched  by  Lieutenant 
Brown  in  pursuit  of  the  Pathans 
that  the  actual  attack  on  Major 
Stephanoff's  party  had  been  com- 
mitted some  way  outside  the 
imaginary  line  of  British  influence, 
which  of  course  would  considerably 
complicate  matters.  He  was,  how- 
ever, delighted  to  hear  that  most 
of  the  major's  property  had  been 
recovered,  though  the  destruction 
of  his  botanical  specimens  would 
no  doubt  be  of  irreparable  loss  to 


science.  He  trusted  the  major 
had  lost  nothing  else?  "Only 
some  letters  and  papers,"  replied 
Stephanoff,  looking  his  interlocutor 
straight  between  the  eyes.  "Ah, 
indeed  !  that  was  a  pity."  Cap- 
tain Armstrong  trusted  they  were 
not  important,  though  in  any  case 
they  could  be  of  no  use  to  a  Pathan, 
and  with  this  the  matter  dropped. 

Major  Stephanoff  stayed  three 
days  at  the  fort,  during  which 
time  he  smoked  105  cigarettes, 
consumed  nine  bottles  of  medical 
comforts,  and  won  48  rupees  from 
Lieutenant  Brown  at  ecarte.  Then 
came  a  courteous  message  asking 
that  he  might  be  sent  under  escort 
to  Peshawur  for  further  inquiry 
into  the  outrage  committed  on 
him ;  and  behold,  when  he  got  to 
Peshawur  came  another  courteous 
message  inviting  him  to  Simla, 
where  he  stayed  for  a  week  as  the 
guest  of  the  Viceroy,  and  was 
finally  shipped  home  by  way  of 
Bombay  and  Odessa,  which  is 
hardly  the  most  direct  route  from 
Diltistan  to  Reshat. 

His  Government  was  most  effu- 
sive in  its  expression  of  gratitude 
for  the  assistance  rendered  to  him 
in  his  unfortunate  predicament, 
and  has  since  found  employment 
for  his  talents  in  the  north-eastern 
portion  of  their  Asiatic  dominions. 

It  is  understood  that  the  Khan 
of  Dilt,  in  order  to  more  strongly 
mark  his  disapproval  of  Russian 
diplomacy,  has  expressed  his 
willingness  to  receive  a  mission 
from  the  English  sirkar,  and  it  is 
further  believed  that,  should  this 
be  the  case,  Captain  Armstrong 
will  accompany  it  as  chief  Political 
officer,  in  which  case  he  will  in- 
fallibly be  attended  by  Jemadar — 
I  repeat  "  Jemadar  " — Daoud  Shah 
of  the  Chardagh  Rifles. 


52 


The  special  Attraction  of  Golf.^ 


[July 


THE   SPECIAL   ATTRACTION   OF   GOLF. 


THE  position  of  golf  among 
games  is  almost  exactly  that  of 
the  novelist's  young  lady,  who, 
while  possessing  no  regular  or 
recognised  traits  of  beauty,  yet 
exercises  an  undoubted  attraction 
upon  those  who  come  within  her 
influence  ;  and  the  best  expression 
of  this  quality  is  the  novelist's 
favourite  formula,  "indescribable 
charm."  Analogies,  however, 
should  never  be  carried  further 
than  their  first  and  most  obvious 
application.  Extensive  as  have 
been  the  conquests  of  the  game 
of  golf,  they  can  never  pretend 
to  the  universality  of  woman's 
sway.  On  the  other  hand,  no 
woman,  in  a  novel  or  out  of  it, 
has  ever  had  to  undergo  so  much 
contempt,  ridicule,  contumely,  and 
disparagement  as  has  been  di- 
rected at  golf.  Not  only  has  it 
survived  all  that,  however,  but 
it  has  continued  increasingly  to 
flourish,  whether  because  or  in 
spite  of  the  attacks  it  boots  not 
to  inquire.  Let  the  simple  and 
unassailable  fact  witness  to  it, 
that  there  are  more  clubs  of 
golfers  in  existence  to-day  than 
there  were  individual  players 
twenty  years  ago.  To  account 
for  this,  and  not  to  criticise  it, 
is  an  interesting  inquiry,  and  the 
short  and  direct  way  seems  to  be 
to  try  to  discover  the  "indescrib- 
able charm,"  and  describe  it  if 
we  may. 

Whatever  man  may  do  in  re- 
gard to  the  serious  matters  of  life 
(golf  for  the  purposes  of  this  con- 
trast at  least  not  being  serious), 
in  their  recreations  they  undoubt- 
edly select  and  adopt  those  which, 
without  deliberate  analysis,  they 
find  that  they  like,  and  which 
offer  them  the  kind  of  amusement 


that  appeals  to  them.  Deduct 
the  swarms  of  fashion  -  flies  who 
buzz  about  lawn-tennis  to-day,  golf 
to-morrow,  and  cycling  the  day 
after,  and  there  remains  a  sub- 
stantial and  ever-increasing  num- 
ber of  men  with  the  instinct  of 
sport  and  play  in  them,  who  by 
unhesitating  choice  and  preference 
follow  the  game  of  golf.  In  view 
of  this,  it  would  seem  to  be  an 
easy  thing  to  determine  in  what 
characteristic  of  the  game  the 
great  attraction  lies.  All  that 
appears  necessary  is  to  collect  and 
collate  the  opinions  of  a  number 
of  players  lying  between  the  op- 
posing poles  of  a  stroke-a-hole-man 
and  a  gold  medallist.  Unfortun- 
ately, experience  shows  that  the 
reasons  a  man  may  give  for  liking 
a  recreation  are  not  necessarily 
the  true  ones.  In  nothing  so  much 
as  in  this  do  delusions  and  self- 
deceptions  prevail.  The  whist- 
player's  explanation  of  his  devotion 
to  the  game  is  often  a  mere  ingeni- 
ous apology  for  the  time  he  spends 
upon  it.  To  believe  him  he  would 
rather  be  occupied  in  serious  pur- 
suits, but  for  his  doctor's  advice. 
Obviously  for  our  purpose,  who 
wish  to  know  why  he  plays  whist 
and  not  poker,  such  a  reply  is 
useless.  If  pressed  he  might  say 
he  does  not  care  to  gamble,  which 
again  is  no  reason  to  the  point. 

Not  so  long  ago  an  inveterate 
cricketer — that  is,  a  man  who  still 
plays  Saturday  cricket  at  the  age 
of  thirty,  when  the  swift  stoop  at 
short-slip  begins  to  be  a  trouble, 
and  the  long  waits  in  the  out-field 
irksome — such  a  man,  we  say,  de- 
clared that  the  chief  attraction  in 
cricket  was  the  element  of  gam- 
bling in  it, — in  fact,  that  cricket 
was  a  gamble.  He  set  forth  very 


1898.] 


The  special  Attraction  of  Golf, 


53 


plausibly  that  if  on  a  fine  June 
morning  he  were  told  that  his 
side  would  have  to  field  first  (by 
the  fall  of  a  tossed  coin)  and  con- 
tinue fielding  for  four  hours,  and 
that  he  himself  would  be  bowled 
first  ball,  he  would  certainly  choose 
another  and  more  agreeable  method 
of  spending  his  day.  But  he  is 
lured  forth  by  the  enchanting  hope 
that  his  side  may  win  the  toss  and 
he  go  in  early,  that  the  bowlers 
may  send  down  to  him  at  least 
twelve  half-volleys,  equalling  forty- 
eight  runs,  and  that  when  he  does 
field,  as  field  he  must,  he  may 
make  three  or  four  brilliant 
catches.  The  uncertainty  of  every- 
thing in  cricket,  and  the  conse- 
quent possibility  of  much,  he 
thought  was  its  special  attrac- 
tion ;  and  although  this  uncer- 
tainty is  often  coupled  with  the 
adjective  "glorious,"  he  thought 
it  was  more  nearly  allied  to  that 
of  the  faro-table.  Now,  whether 
this  be  right  or  whether  it  be  wrong, 
it  is  not  the  ground  upon  which  the 
pursuit  of  the  game  of  cricket  is 
urged  and  upheld.  In  any  event, 
it  does  not  aid  us  in  our  special 
inquiry,  for  there  is  no  such  pre- 
dominant element  of  chance  or 
uncertainty  about  golf.  Out  of 
a  day's  cricket  a  man  may  neither 
have  an  opportunity  of  bowling 
nor  of  batting,  whereas  at  golf 
he  has  the  assurance  of  actively 
participating  in  every  department 
of  the  game.  His  particular  un- 
happiness,  or  otherwise,  will  flow 
from  the  way  in  which  he  acquits 
himself,  but  he  will  certainly  have 
his  game  of  eighteen  holes,  so 
many  strokes  to  each,  all  to  be 
made  by  him. 

Have  we  here  the  secret  of  the 
matter,  and  are  we  to  conclude 
that  the  appeal  which  golf  makes 
so  successfully  lies  in  the  assurance 
given  to  every  player  that  he  will 
at  least  have  his  ' '  whack  "  1  Doubt- 


less this  certainty  of  continuous 
active  exercise  is  an  attraction, 
but  that  it  is  not  the  chief,  and 
far  less  the  distinctive  one,  is 
evident  at  once  from  the  consid- 
eration that  the  more  "  whacks  " 
a  man  makes  the  less  is  he  pleased. 
A  player  who  will  be  satisfied  to 
have  completed  a  round  at  golf  in 
eighty-five  strokes  will  be  miser- 
able for  the  rest  of  the  day,  an 
object  of  aversion  to  his  friends 
and  family,  if  he  has  had  to  make 
ninety-five.  Clearly  if  his  purpose 
were  mere  exercise  the  conditions 
would  be  reversed  :  he  would  keep 
his  despondency  for  the  round  of 
eighty-five  strokes,  and  consider 
himself  deprived  by  play  of  un- 
fortunate brilliancy  of  ten  good 
health-giving  knocks.  Similarly, 
no  man  labouring  in  a  sand-bunker 
has  ever  been  known  to  find  com- 
pensation for  his  misfortune  in  the 
exercise  which  his  efforts  to  extri- 
cate his  ball  entailed  upon  him. 
The  golfer  has  yet  to  be  dis- 
covered, probably  to  be  born,  who 
shall  emerge  smiling  from  a  hazard 
with  the  observation  that  he  cares 
not  for  the  loss  of  the  hole,  for 
those  four  extra  strokes  have  set 
him  up  wonderfully  in  health. 
Stone  -  breaking  has  been  recom- 
mended before  now  by  physicians 
to  plethoric  subjects,  but  no  one 
ever  took  to  it,  neither  will  any 
one  willingly  expend  an  extra 
stroke  at  golf.  No ;  it  is  not  the 
exercise.  If  it  were,  would  not 
that  couple  of  elderly  men,  who 
took  to  the  game  but  recently, 
and  whose  farthest  drive  is  barely 
fifty  yards,  invite  you  to  pass,  as 
they  were  only  having  some  mild 
exercise?  Whereas,  do  they  not 
rather  insist  with  sternness  on 
keeping  their  place,  and  on  what 
they  call  "the  courtesy  of  the 
green  "  ?  It  is  the  more  necessary 
thus  to  insist  that  exercise  is  not 
the  great,  far  less  the  distinctive, 


54 


The  special  Attraction  of  Golf. 


[July 


attraction  in  golf,  because  so  many 
players  insist  that  it  is  so.  If 
further  proof  be  wanted  of  how 
little  the  consideration  of  physical 
benefit  weighs  with  mankind,  it 
may  be  found  in  the  physician's 
constant  recommendation  of  walk- 
ing. In  a  daily  walk  of  an  hour 
lies  the  preventive  of  many  of  the 
ills  that  afflict  us,  and  yet  how  few 
will  do  that  moderate  amount  of 
pedestrianism  even  at  the  urging 
of  such  self-interest.  Clearly  we 
must  look  more  closely  into  the 
witchery  of  golf. 

It  is  evident  that  the  precise 
distinctive  something  of  appeal  in 
the  game  must  be  a  characteristic 
which  it  does  not  share  with  any 
other.  On  the  apparently  sound 
principle  already  mentioned,  how- 
ever, that  mankind  does  not 
closely  analyse  or  reason  about  its 
amusements,  the  distinctive  some- 
thing is  not  necessarily  obvious, 
otherwise  the  majority  of  observers 
would  at  once  assert  that  whereas 
in  golf  you  strike  a  ball  from  a 
state  of  rest,  in  most  other  out- 
door games  played  with  a  ball 
and  propelling  instrument,  the 
ball  has  to  be  taken  while  in 
motion.  (Croquet  may  be  dis- 
regarded in  the  comparison ;  its 
special  attraction  has  long  been 
clearly  revealed  as'something  quite 
extraneous  to  the  game.)  It 
would  also  seem  to  be  a  safe 
assertion  that  to  play  a  ball  in 
motion  demands  more  skill  than 
to  play  one  at  rest.  Before  con- 
cluding on  so  apparently  con- 
vincing a  proposition,  however,  it 
is  necessary  to  examine  it  more 
closely,  and  its  simplicity  vanishes 
when  the  purposes  and  conditions 
of  the  stroke  are  taken  into  ac- 
count. If  at  golf  it  were  merely 
required  to  strike  the  ball,  there 
would  be  few  failures,  and  no 
game.  But  although  the  ball  be 
at  rest,  the  object  of  the  play  de- 


mands that  it  must  be  propelled 
(with  a  fair  margin  for  error)  in 
a  given  line  and  to  a  certain  dis- 
tance (in  a  considerable  propor- 
tion of  cases  as  far  as  is  possible) 
with  reference  to  a  number  of  haz- 
ards which  (like  the  fieldsmen  at 
cricket)  stand  in  wait  to  punish 
failure  to  fulfil  these  conditions. 
And  here  it  may  be  observed  that 
a  fieldsman  may  miss  a  catch,  or 
fail  to  stop  a  hit,  for  he  is  human 
and  has  nerves ;  a  sand-bunker 
has  neither  nerves  nor  sentiency, 
and  never  fails  to  retain  the  golf- 
ball  played  into  its  grasp.  Further, 
although  in  cricket  the  ball  comes 
to  the  player  in  motion,  he  is  not 
required  to  strike  it  with  any 
special  force  nor  in  any  particu- 
lar direction;  his  primary  object  is 
to  prevent  it  striking  his  wicket. 
In  a  large  proportion  of  cases  he 
is  highly  gratified  at  being  able 
to  do  so.  In  a  smaller  proportion 
of  cases,  notably  when  the  stumps 
are  not  in  danger,  he  may  play 
the  ball  so  that  it  is  possible  to 
make  runs.  As  all  the  world 
knows,  a  man  may  bat  in  pure 
defence  of  his  wicket  with  tedious 
skill  for  hours,  making  but  few 
runs,  and  yet  be  playing  cricket  ; 
the  attempt  to  make  runs  is  en- 
tirely within  his  own  choice. 
This  large  element  of  choice  at 
cricket  goes  far  to  minimise  the 
difficulty  of  playing  a  ball  in 
motion.  Indeed,  on  perfect 
wickets,  such  as  can  be  prepared 
in  Australia,  the  number  of  balls 
which  present  serious  difficulty  to 
a  first-class  batsman  is  not  great, 
and  occasionally  such  a  rate  of 
scoring  as  120  runs  an  hour  can 
be  attained.  It  is  apparent, 
therefore,  that  the  difficulty  of 
playing  a  ball  in  motion  is  liable 
to  be  overstated. 

Now  at  golf  there  is  nothing  to 
correspond  to  this  defensive  atti- 
tude at  cricket.  It  is  a  game  of 


1898.] 


The  special  Attraction  of  Golf. 


55 


force  all  through, — of  utmost  force 
and  some  judgment  for  one  half  of 
the  play,  of  lesser  force  and  more 
intent  judgment  for  the  other 
half.  Though  the  ball  is  played 
from  rest,  it  must  be  played  to  a 
certain  distance,  in  a  given  line, 
towards  a  fixed  goal :  and  it  may 
well  be  a  question  whether  the 
skill  necessary  to  do  all  this  is  not 
as  great  as,  or  even  greater  than, 
what  is  required  at  cricket  to 
keep  a  moving  ball  from  striking 
three  stumps.  All  the  while  he 
is  playing,  the  golfer  must  never 
cease  exerting  his  power  and 
skill ;  while  the  batsman  has  it 
in  his  choice  to  play  for  half  an 
hour  and  yet  contribute  nothing 
more  to  victory  than  the  man  who 
went  out  first  ball.  Therefore  the 
special  seduction  of  golf  does  not 
lie  in  the  apparent  simplicity  of 
playing  a  ball  from  a  state  of  rest. 
True  that  to  the  outsider  this 
characteristic  does  cause  the  game 
to  appear  easy — so  easy,  indeed,  as 
to  make  it  seem  not  worth  playing, 
and  therefore  his  opinion  is  value- 
less. It  is  only  when  the  out- 
sider has  been  tempted  into  the 
magic  circle,  and  become  a  novice, 
that  we  see  the  subtle  mystery  at 
work  tempting  him  on  ever  deeper 
into  the  tantalising  despairs  of 
"Badminton"  and  a  too  full  bag 
of  clubs.  Somewhere  between  this 
novice  with  his  powers,  fancied  or 
real,  and  the  conditions  of  the 
game,  stern  and  unyielding,  lies 
the  solution  of  the  attraction  of 
golf.  But,  again,  the  novice's 
account  of  the  matter  is  rarely  to 
the  purpose;  he  is  too  deeply 
under  the  golf -spell  to  explain, 
even  if  he  cares  to  reflect,  how  he 
got  into  that  state  and  why  he 
continues  in  it. 

Another  game  which  makes  an 
appeal  somewhat  similar  in  kind, 
but  more  universal  than  even  golf, 
is  billiards.  Here  you  play  a  ball 


at  rest ;  but  there  is  this  essential 
difference,  that  your  ball  at  bil- 
liards is  constantly  an  object  of 
attack  by  your  opponent :  it  is  an 
integral  element  of  his  play  as 
well  as  your  own,  and  it  is  his 
play  as  much  as  your  own  which 
determines  the  starting-point  and 
conditions  of  your  strokes.  The 
effect  of  this  upon  their  ease  or 
difficulty  operates  so  largely  as  to 
introduce  that  consideration  of 
luck  so  dear  to  the  heart  of  de- 
feated humanity.  "The  balls  ran 
badly  for  me  all  the  evening,"  or 
"he  won  by  his  flukes,"  are  staple 
phrases  of  excuse  familiar  to  every- 
one who  plays  billiards :  he  has 
heard  them  and  he  has  used  them. 

We  are  now  coming  near,  as  we 
believe,  to  the  mysterious  attrac- 
tion of  golf.  Not  only  is  the  ele- 
ment of  luck  smaller  in  golf  than 
in  any  other  of  the  ball  games, 
but,  save  in  the  relatively  rare 
case  of  a  stimie,  the  opponent  by 
his  play  cannot  directly  prejudice 
yours.  You  are  absolute  master 
of  your  ball  all  the  time ;  what  is 
done,  well  or  ill,  is  done  by  you. 
Here,  we  believe,  lies  the  secret 
we  are  in  search  of ;  and  this  is 
the  true  psychological  explanation 
of  the  fascination  the  game  exerts. 
Nothing  happens  in  the  play  of 
the  ball  that  the  player  is  not  the 
author  of,  as  absolutely  as  that 
can  ever  be  said  of  anything  done 
by  poor  humanity  acting  with  im- 
perfect powers  in  a  world  not  too 
kindly  adapted  to  these  powers. 
The  appeal  which  such  conditions 
makes  to  humanity  is  undoubtedly 
very  powerful,  as  a  little  examina- 
tion will  show. 

And,  first,  it  is  necessary  to 
remember  that  no  man  willingly 
admits  his  inferiority  to  another. 
Of  two  schoolfellows,  one  becomes, 
say,  a  wholesale  chandler  and  the 
other  a  Lord  Chancellor.  If  you 
will  listen  to  the  chandler  you  will 


56 


The  special  Attraction  of  Golf. 


[July 


find  that  the  operations  of  fortune 
as  they  manifest  themselves  in 
position,  friends,  influence,  and 
propitious  opportunities,  have  con- 
spired to  make  a  Chancellor  of  one 
who  in  truth  was  best  adapted  for 
a  chandler ;  while  the  actual 
chandler  has  every  qualification 
necessary  for  a  really  brilliant  and 
successful  Chancellor.  Now,  in 
golf  you  have  a  game  (pity  that  in 
this  respect  it  is  only  a  game) 
which  infallibly  sorts  men  out  into 
better  and  worse  golfers,  without 
leaving  them  a  single  ground  of 
deprecatory  appeal  to  fortune. 
The  golfer  stands  up  at  a  small 
plat  of  ground  and  chooses  any 
spot  which  seems  to  him  the  best 
on  which  to  place  his  ball.  To 
obviate  cause  of  complaint  for  con- 
ceivable inequalities  in  the  growth 
of  grass,  he  may  even  make  a 
little  mound  of  sand  on  which  to 
prop  it,  which  may  vary  in  size 
with  his  fancy  from  a  worm- cast 
to  a  mole-hill.  He  then  selects 
the  club  most  suitable  (or  which  he 
thinks  most  suitable — for  there  is  a 
subtle  humour  in  that  too)  for  his 
style,  age,  weight,  and  height,  and 
with  everything  thus  disposed  in 
his  favour,  all  he  is  asked  to  do  is 
to  strike  that  ball  as  far  as  possible 
in  a  certain  direction.  He  may, 
in  doing  this,  stand  as  he  pleases, 
swing  his  club  as  he  pleases,  make 
what  antics  he  pleases,  play  in  a 
shirt  or  a  shooting  -  coat ;  he  is 
absolute  monarch  of  the  conditions 
under  which  he  shall  strike  (or 
attempt  to  strike)  that  ball.  Was 
there  ever  before  such  ridiculous 
organised  liberty  of  procedure  in 
anything  to  be  called  a  game  ?  Is 
it  wonderful  that  its  appeal  is 
irresistible  to  human  beings  who 
never  get  anything  in  life  without 
distasteful  conditions  1  Is  any 
imaginable  man  proof  against  such 
provocation?  Can  any  one  refuse 
such  a  challenge  ?  But  as  he 


hastens  to  take  it  up  he  does  not 
see,  vain  man,  the  dire  nature  of 
the  humiliation  that  follows  if 
he  fail  in  the  trial.  In  the  ela- 
tion natural  at  having  everything 
thus  arranged  in  his  favour,  it 
does  not  occur  to  him  that  failure 
must  inevitably  be  the  failure  of 
him — him  alone.  And  when  fail- 
ure does  happen  (which  it  does 
more  often  than  is  explicable 
except  upon  a  low  estimate  of 
average  human  capacity),  how  the 
natural  man  leaps  forth  to  palliate 
it !  A  fly,  a  tree,  moving  clouds, 
the  glitter  of  a  button  on  an  op- 
ponent's coat,  will  be  called  upon 
to  serve  as  reasons,  although  every 
one  knows  no  truth  lies  that  way, 
and  that  the  player  himself  knows 
it.  No  :  it  was  he  who  missed — 
he  alone.  And  equally,  if  the 
opponent  succeeds,  it  is  he  who 
succeeds  :  this  is  wherein  lies  the 
application  of  the  parable  of  the 
chandler  and  the  Chancellor.  We 
see  thus  two  direct  assaults  upon 
the  pride  and  convictions  of  the 
natural  man  :  the  success  of  the 
opponent  whose  possibilities  are  no 
better  than  his — if  so  good ;  and 
the  constant  mocking  challenge 
of  the  conditions  of  the  stroke. 
To  the  first  no  man  will 
willingly  submit,  while  few  can 
resist  the  latter  ;  and  therefore  the 
adage,  Once  a  golfer,  always  a 
golfer.  The  actual  experience, 
which  in  due  time  shows  that  this 
game  so  apparently  easy  is  really 
difficult,  does  not  seriously  affect 
this  attitude  of  the  player.  He  is 
never  disillusioned  ;  the  one  thing 
he  will  not  credit  is  the  necessity 
for  failure  to  happen.  The 
guileless  simplicity  of  the  game, 
when  once  he  is  persuaded  to 
attempt  itj  works  upon  the  weakest 
side  of  his  nature,  for  no  mental 
effort  is  required  to  grasp  its  con- 
ditions ;  and  he  can  see  nothing 
in  these  that  should  prevent  him 


1898.] 


The  special  Attraction  of  Golf. 


57 


rivalling  the  best  feats  accom- 
plished at  it.  So  nicely  calculated 
are  these  things  to  delude  the 
average  human  mind  that  they 
survive  the  bitterest  teachings  of 
experience,  and  draw  it  on  ever 
deeper  into  the  plausibilities  of  a 
recreative  confidence-trick. 

It  is  not  for  nothing  that  the 
game  of  golf  comes  from  Scotland. 
One  would  like  to  think  that  the 
fine  conception  it  embodies  sprang 
from  the  brain  of  one  man,  and 
that  his  name  may  yet  be  recovered 
in  order  that  due  honour  may  be 
paid  him.  We  can  imagine  him 
some  humorous  moralist  who  thus 
enshrined  one  of  the  subtlest 
and  most  searching  criticisms  of 
humanity,  not  in  a  poem,  play,  or 
book  of  dogma,  but  in  a  game : 
one  who,  perceiving  how  attrac- 
tive is  the  element  of  chance  in 
games,  how  large  a  share  has  been 
allotted  to  it  even  in  those  in 
which  skill  is  called  for,  how  salu- 
tary are  its  operations  to  the  loser 
and  how  enjoyable  to  the  winner, 
— yet  conceived  the  possibility  and 
framed  the  conditions  of  the  game 
of  golf,  wherein  the  element  of 
chance  should  be  almost  com- 
pletely eliminated,  and  a  man, 
seduced  by  that  pleasing  considera- 
tion, be  made  his  own  censor  in  a 
ruder  and  blunter  fashion  than  by 
almost  any  other  pursuit,  serious  or 
recreative.  The  golfer  stands  up 
at  the  first  tee  in  the  exhilarating 
conviction  that  he  is  author  and 
master  of  all  that  will  happen  to 
his  ball ;  what  is  to  be  done  will 
be  done  by  him.  He  holes-out  on 
the  eighteenth  green  in  most  cases 


with  a  sense  of  defeat,  yet  con- 
scious that  he  has  had  no  real 
opponent  but  himself.  One  would 
dearly  like  to  believe  that  one 
man,  one  nameable  man  if  possible, 
imagined  and  created  this  game  ; 
but  the  probabilities  are  against  it. 
Far  more  likely  it  is  that  not  one 
mind  but  many  minds  have  made 
it  what  it  is,  have  elaborated  it  in 
course  of  time  from  grass-tees  to 
sand-tees,  from  rude  natural  put- 
ting -  greens  to  smooth  shaven 
swards,  —  each  improvement  of 
ground,  club,  and  ball  only  in- 
creasing the  grim  jest  of  the  game. 
If  it  be  objected  that  there  is, 
after  all,  a  good  deal  of  luck  in  the 
fall  and  lie  of  the  ball  through  the 
"  fair  -  green,"  we  can  only  reply 
that  without  that  admixture  of 
chance,  that  small  concession  to 
human  frailty  in  the  matter  of  rea- 
sons for  its  failures,  the  game  would 
have  been  so  diabolically  distract- 
ing that  no  one  would  have  played 
it.  After  the  fair-green  comes  the 
putting  -  green,  where  our  imagi- 
nary ancient  humorist  resumes  his 
sway.  There  he  permits  you  to 
remove  loose  obstacles  in  your 
path  to  the  hole,  so  determined  is 
he  that  if  you  fail  it  shall  go  home 
with  terrible  conviction  to  you  that 
it  was  you  who  failed.  You  may, 
as  far  as  he  is  concerned,  take 
almost  any  implement,  call  it  a 
putter,  and  aim  to  put  that  ball 
into  yonder  hole — that  little  ball 
into  yonder  big  hole — from  a  dis- 
tance of  say  six  feet.  Whether, 
when  you  miss,  he  from  his  place 
in  the  supernal  laughs  or  weeps, 
who  shall  say  ? 


58 


A  Great  Naturalist. 


[July 


A    GREAT    NATURALIST. 


BIOGRAPHIES  of  all  sorts  are  the 
craze  of  the  day,  but  not  many  of 
them  have  the  intense  human  and 
sensational  fascination  of  these 
journals  and  "  Episodes  "  by  Audu- 
bon,  piously  edited  by  his  grand- 
daughter.1 They  come  as  a  tardy 
sequel  to  the  great  ornithological 
works — like  these,  they  are  emin- 
ently autobiographical  and  self- 
revealing — which  won  him  a  world- 
wide fame  some  seventy  years  ago. 
For  his  graphic  style  is  always 
inspired  by  a  delightful  and  inno- 
cently unconscious  egoism.  The 
numerous  portraits  in  the  volumes 
give  us  the  measure  of  the  man  : 
his  character  is  stamped  upon  his 
face  in  the  most  legible  of  large 
print.  As  we  see  him  in  his 
prime,  he  is  something  between 
"Christopher  North"  and  a  per- 
egrine falcon.  There  is  the  lofty 
forehead  and  the  aquiline  nose, 
though  the  flashing  search-light  in 
the  hawk-like  eye  is  tempered  by 
a  mild  benignity.  By  the  way, 
Audubon  is  an  old  acquaintance 
of  '  Maga,' —  an  intimate  in  the 
inner  circle  of  the  directorate. 
During  a  prolonged  residence  in 
Edinburgh,  which  he  loved  beyond 
all  European  cities,  he  was  drawn 
to  Wilson,  not  only  by  congenial 
tastes  and  habits,  but  by  previous 
acquaintance  with  the  Professor's 
brother,  who  had  devoted  himself, 
like  Audubon,  to  American  bird- 
lore.  He  was  mentioned  at  a 
"  Noctes  "  in  terms  of  the  highest 
admiration,  and  two  eloquent  eulo- 
gies of  his  works  appeared  immed- 
iately afterwards  in  the  Magazine.2 
Like  Christopher,  he  had  a  con- 


stitution of  iron,  which  he  never 
spared  ;  but  in  one  point  there  was 
little  resemblance  between  them. 
Christopher  took  his  liquor  like  a 
man,  though  the  potations  pottle- 
deep  at  Ambrose's  were  the  nights 
of  a  poetical  imagination.  Audu- 
bon prides  himself  on  never  having 
tasted  wine  or  spirits  before  his 
marriage,  although  he  learned  later 
to  carry  a  flask  as  a  companion 
in  his  multifarious  and  malarious 
wanderings.  For,  like  Christopher 
and  the  peregrine,  he  was  a  born 
rover,  with  eyes  that  were  ever 
on  the  alert  for  each  movement 
of  animated  nature.  The  son  of 
a  Frenchman,  and  Spanish  on  the 
mother's  side,  he  was  early  nat- 
uralised as  an  American  citizen. 
Oddly  enough,  though  his  descend- 
ants have  religiously  preserved  all 
memorials  of  him,  the  date  and 
circumstances  of  his  birth  are  mys- 
terious as  those  of  Melchizedek. 
His  granddaughter  cannot  pretend 
to  fix  it  within  several  years  ;  but 
she  strikes  the  most  probable  aver- 
age about  1780.  It  is  certain  that 
he  was  a  schoolboy  in  France  dur- 
ing the  Reign  of  Terror ;  and  while 
heads  were  falling  under  the  guil- 
lotine in  Paris,  and  Carrier  was 
perpetrating  his  grotesque  atroc- 
ities on  the  Loire,  little  John 
James  Laforest  was  playing  truant 
on  the  lower  banks  of  the  river, 
bird-nesting  and  collecting  eggs 
and  specimens.  Already  "  I  had 
upwards  of  200  drawings,  all  bad 
enough,  yet  they  were  represen- 
tations of  birds,  and  I  felt  pleased 
with  them." 

He  came  to  America,  where  his 


1  Audubon  and   his  Journals.      By  Maria  R.    Audubon.     John  C.   Nimmo. 
1898. 

2  July  and  August  1831. 


1S98.] 


A  Great  Naturalist. 


59 


father  had  good  properties,  and, 
about  the  time  of  attaining  his 
majority,  launched  out  as  a  gay 
young  Pennsylvanian  squire.  He 
tells  us  he  was  extremely  ex- 
travagant, with  neither  vices  nor 
high  aims.  It  was  but  natural 
that  he  should  be  fond  of  shoot- 
ing, and  lavish  money  on  a  costly 
stud.  And  as  irrepressible  genius 
will  break  out,  it  was  as  natural 
he  should  indulge  his  taste  for 
drawing,  in  the  intervals  of  the 
graver  occupations  of  picnicking, 
music,  and  dancing.  But  the 
man  whose  daily  wear  was  to 
be  homespun  or  deerskins  was 
then  so  finished  and  fantastic  a 
dandy  that  he  went  shooting  in 
satin  small-clothes,  silk  stockings, 
and  ruffled  shirts. 

A  happy  marriage  with  a  charm- 
ing English  girl  made,  reformed, 
and  beggared  him.  His  father-in- 
law  insisted  that  he  should  go  into 
trade,  and  like  many  another  un- 
lucky man  of  business,  he  never 
discovered  his  true  vocation  till 
he  was  ruined.  His  partners  may 
have  been  honest ;  but  they  may 
be  excused  if  they  were  disgusted 
and  inclined  to  take  advantage  of 
him.  They  might  tempt  him  to 
venture  his  all  in  risky  specula- 
tion, but  they  could  never  keep 
him  to  the  inside  of  the  counting- 
house.  He  was  keen  to  break 
away  to  the  woods  and  fields,  as 
any  falcon  fettered  to  the  perch. 
Fancy  the  feelings  of  a  respect- 
able New  Englander,  intent  on 
"making  his  pile,"  when  coming 
on  such  a  passage  as  this  in  his 
associate's  note- books:  "Were  I 
to  tell  you  that  once  when  travel- 
ling and  driving  several  horses 
before  me,  laden  with  goods  and 
dollars,  I  lost  sight  of  the  pack- 
saddles  and  the  cash  they  bore,  to 
watch  the  motions  of  a  warbler, 
I  should  only  repeat  occurrences 
which  happened  a  hundred  times 


and  more  in  those  days."  And 
the  locations  in  which  the  specu- 
lators settled  offered  him  rare 
opportunities  and  temptations  ir- 
resistible. He  was  first  at  the 
rising  township  of  Louisville  on 
the  Ohio;  afterwards  at  Hender- 
son, a  hundred  miles  lower  down 
the  river.  The  woods,  the  wolves, 
and  the  Indians  came  up  to  the 
skirts  of  the  settlement  :  the 
country  was  sparsely  dotted  over 
with  squatters,  who  lived  chiefly 
by  their  guns.  What  was  bred 
in  the  bone  would  come  out, 
and  Audubon  was  always  play- 
ing truant  as  when  at  school, 
and  picking  up  respectable,  but 
unprofitable,  acquaintances.  The 
inevitable  results  followed.  The 
Pennsylvanian  plantation  was  sold, 
his  debts  were  paid,  and  he  was 
left  without  a  dollar.  "Was  I 
inclined  to  cut  my  throat  in 
foolish  despair  ?  No  !  I  had 
talents,  and  to  them  I  instantly 
resorted."  He  stood  then  at  the 
parting  of  the  ways,  and  imme- 
diately he  struck  into  the  path 
which  was  to  lead  him  to  fame 
and  reasonable  affluence.  In  the 
meantime,  however,  he  had  to 
resign  himself  to  dire  extremities. 
Here  is  an  incident  which  shows 
the  careless  viveiir  of  civilised 
Pennsylvania,  the  man  who  was 
to  be  welcomed  as  an  honoured 
guest  in  the  most  intellectual 
society  of  Western  Europe,  re- 
duced to  the  condition  of  the 
meanest  tramp,  and  with  no 
previous  hardening  to  stoical  en- 
durance. It  is  in  an  autobio- 
graphical sketch  bequeathed  to 
his  children  : — 

"  After  our  dismal  removal,  one 
morning  when  all  of  us  were  sadly 
desponding,  I  took  you  both  from 
Shippingport  to  Louisville.  I  had 
purchased  a  loaf  of  bread  and  some 
apples :  before  you  reached  Louis- 
ville you  were  all  hungry,  and  by 


60 


A  Great  Naturalist. 


[July 


the  riverside  we  sat  down  and  ate 
our  scanty  meal.  On  that  day  the 
world  was  with  me  as  a  blank  and 
my  heart  was  sorely  heavy,  for  scarcely 
had  I  enough  to  keep  my  dear  ones 
alive,  and  yet  through  those  dark 
ways  I  was  being  led  to  a  develop- 
ment of  the  talents  I  loved,  and  which 
have  brought  so  much  enjoyment  to 
us  all" 

He  goes  on  characteristically: — 

"One  of  the  most  extraordinary 
things  among  all  these  adverse  cir- 
cumstances was,  that  I  never  for  a 
day  gave  up  listening  to  the  songs 
of  our  birds  or  watching  their  pecu- 
liar habits  or  delineating  them  in  the 
best  way  I  could  :  nay,  during  my 
deepest  troubles,  I  frequently  would 
wrench  myself  from  the  persons 
around  me  and  retire  to  some  secluded 
part  of  our  noble  forests  ;  and  many 
a  time,  at  the  sound  of  the  wood- 
thrush's  melodies,  have  I  fallen  on 
my  knees  and  there  prayed  earnestly 
to  our  God." 

These  touching  extracts  may 
serve  to  indicate  the  nervous  sim- 
plicity of  his  graphic  style.  He 
was  no  drawer  of  landscapes,  ex- 
cept in  pen  and  ink ;  but  he  was 
equally  effective  in  portraiture 
with  pen,  pencil,  and  brush.  As 
an  animal -artist,  for  truth  and 
spirit  he  stands  unrivalled,  ex- 
cept perhaps  by  Joseph  Wolf  of 
the  Rhineland,  and  by  Bewick  in 
wood-engraving ;  though  in  grati- 
tude for  our  mercies  we  should 
not  forget  our  own  Thorburn  and 
Millais.  Candid  almost  to  a  fault 
in  his  criticisms  as  he  was  frank 
in  his  speech,  he  ridicules  the  best 
work  of  Sneiders,  Hondikoeter, 
and  Edwin  Landseer,  for  their 
fanciful  travesties  of  the  truthful 
reality.  At  the  same  time,  he  ex- 
presses his  unbounded  admiration 
of  their  colouring  and  of  the  tech- 
nique to  which  he  dare  never  hope 
to  attain.  Considering  that,  save 
for  a  few  lessons,  he  was  virtually 
self-taught,  his  presentations  of  all 


the  animal  creation  are  marvellous. 
In  the  meantime,  being  thrown 
back,  as  he  says,  on  his  talents, 
he  has  to  draw  the  wild  creatures 
for  his  pleasure  and  his  fellow- 
creatures  for  a  living.  Ou  la 
vanite  va-t-elle  se  nicher  ?  Hap- 
pily for  him,  the  rough  backwoods- 
men and  the  scarcely  less  rude 
bourgeois  of  the  rising  frontier 
townships  had  a  penchant,  and 
even  a  passion,  for  having  the 
family  portraits.  And  they  paid 
liberally,  according  to  their  limited 
ideas,  often  not  only  replenishing 
an  empty  purse,  but  giving  a  sur- 
plus to  draw  upon  for  weeks  of 
wanderings.  So,  thanks  to  these 
pot-boilers,  he  kept  adding  to  the 
collection,  which  sent  him  reluct- 
antly to  Europe  in  1826  to  hunt 
up  wealthy  subscribers  to  the 
magnum  opus, 

The  early  journals  seem  to  have 
perished  in  a  great  fire  at  New 
York,  when  the  premises  in  which 
they  were  stored  were  blown  up  to 
isolate  the  conflagration.  But  we 
do  not  know  that  anything  was 
really  lost  by  that,  for  there  is  a 
good  deal  of  technical  prolixity  in 
the  naturalist's  notes.  On  the 
other  hand,  when  he  "let  himself 
go,"  no  one  could  write  with  more 
spirit  or  with  more  vivid  origin- 
ality, and  the  "  Episodes  "  which 
nearly  fill  the  second  of  these 
volumes  reflect  all  that  was  most 
picturesque  in  the  adventurous  life, 
when  "  he  was  making  himself,"  as 
Shortreed  said  of  Walter  Scott. 
Incidentally  we  are  for  ever  being 
reminded  of  the  changes  which 
have  been  transforming  the  Union 
since  the  beginning  of  the  century. 
Western  Pennsylvania  was  then  as 
wild  as  anything  to  be  found  now 
in  Oregon  or  on  the  frontiers  of 
New  Mexico.  Now  the  rich  coal- 
fields of  the  Lehigh  district  are 
blackened  with  the  fumes  of  the 
pits  and  iron  -  works  :  they  are 


1898.] 


A  Great  Naturalist. 


61 


covered  with  populous  towns  and 
grimy  villages,  and   traversed  by 
railways    ingeniously   constructed 
on  the  stiffest  practicable  gradients. 
Then,  though  the  mineral  wealth 
had  been  suspected,  the  freshness 
of  the  virgin  forests  was  unsoiled  ; 
and  Audubon  lived  for  weeks  in  an 
outlying     mining  -  camp,    the    ap- 
proaches     through      almost      in- 
accessible    defiles     being     slowly 
pioneered  by  the  axes  of  the  lum- 
berers.    The  weekly  consignments 
of   bread  and   pork  were  lowered 
into  the  depths  of  the  gorge  by  a 
rope    300   feet   long.      Then    the 
Ohio    formed     the    boundary    of 
civilisation  beyond  Kentucky,  and, 
as  we  have  said,  when  he  had  his 
homes  in  Louisville  or  Henderson, 
he   could   make   a   mixed   bag  of 
everything  from  a  bear  to  a  tomtit 
in  woods  and   prairieland  coming 
up  to   his   door.     The   wandering 
traders  who   supplied    the   stores 
generally   bought     a     horse     for 
the     journey,     and     took     pack- 
mules  to  carry  the  goods.     There 
were    neither    inns     nor    regular 
resting-places,  and   the   travellers 
either  hobbled   their   beasts    and 
bivouacked,  or  sought  the  casual 
hospitality  of  some  squatter's  cabin. 
Even  so  late  as  in  1843,  describing 
his  voyage  on  a  Mississippi  steamer, 
he  treats  his  compatriots  far  more 
cavalierly  than  Dickens  in  '  Martin 
Chuzzlewit '    or    the     '  American 
Notes.'     It   may  be   worth  while 
quoting  a  passage  or  two,  to  show 
that    the    much  -  abused   English- 
man's    satire    was     well     within 
bounds : — 

"  Such  a  steamer  as  we  have  come 
in  ! — the  very  filthiest  of  all  old  rat- 
traps  I  have  ever  travelled  in,  and 
the  fare  worse,  certainly  much  worse, 
and  so  scanty  withal,  that  our  worthy 
commander  could  not  have  given  us 
another  meal,  had  we  been  detained 
a  night  longer.  .  .  .  Our  compagnons 
de  voyage,  about  150,  were  composed 


of  Buckeyes,  Wolverines,  Suckera, 
Hoosiers,  and  gamblers,  with  drunkards 
of  every  denomination,  their  ladies 
and  babies  of  the  same  nature,  and 
specifically  the  dirtiest  of  the  dirty. 
We  had  to  dip  the  water  for  washing 
from  the  river  in  tin  basins,  soap 
ourselves  from  the  same  cake,  and 
wipe  the  whole  150  with  the  same 
solitary  towel  rolling  over  a  pin,  until 
it  would  have  been  difficult  to  say 
whether  it  was  manufactured  of  hemp, 
flax,  or  cotton." 

Audubon  objected  more  to  dirt 
than  to  discomfort,  and  to  danger 
in  its  many  forms  he  had  habituated 
himself.     In  the  woods  beyond  the 
Ohio,  no  man  ever  parted  with  his 
firearms  :   they  were  indispensable 
for  personal  security  as  for  supply- 
ing the  daily  meals.     Ruffians  of 
all  kinds  had  sought  a  refuge  in 
the    wilderness    and    were    next- 
door  neighbours — at  a  distance  of 
many  miles — of  honest,  respectable, 
and  hard-working  settlers.     When 
a  wanderer  knocked  at  a  door  in 
the  dusk,  he  had  to  take  his  chance 
of   his   reception.       One   thrilling 
escape  of  the   naturalist  brought 
him  into  touch  with  the  Regulators, 
self-constituted  satellites  of  the  law, 
who  anticipated  the  constitutional 
sheriffs.     The    naturalist   was    be- 
lated and  lost  in  the  woods,  when, 
guided  by  the  flicker  of  a  light,  he 
came  to  a  log  cabin.     He  had  a 
gruff  greeting  from  a  formidable- 
looking  virago.      Appearances   at 
the  best  were  not  reassuring,  and 
within    was    seated     a    wounded 
Indian,  who  made  significant  signs 
of   warning   to   the    new    arrival, 
whenever    the    lady's    back    was 
turned.    Audubon  foolishly  showed 
the  woman  a  gold  watch,  and  her 
covetous  glances  made  him  regret 
his    folly.      However,   he    supped 
heartily  on  buffalo-meat  and  veni- 
son ;  lying  down  under  his  blanket, 
he   tucked    himself    in   with    his 
dog,   and   felt   that   his   gun  was 
ready   to    his    hand.      But    fresh 


62 


A  Great  Naturalist. 


[July 


looks  of  warning  from  the  Indian 
had  kept  his  senses  on  the  alert. 
Presently  the  door  opened,  and  two 
stalwart  youths  entered.  There 
was  no  mistaking  the  evil  meaning 
of  their  whispered  conversation 
with  their  mother ;  but  in  the 
meantime  they  were  gorging  them- 
selves with  venison  and  whisky. 
The  old  woman  drank  freely  also, 
but  she  was  a  seasoned  vessel : — 

"  Judge  of  my  astonishment  when 
I  saw  tins  incarnate  fiend  take  a  large 
carving-knife  and  go  to  the  grind- 
stone to  whet  its  edge.  .  .  .  Her  task 
finished,  she  walked  to  her  reeling 
sons  and  said,  'There,  that'll  soon 

settle  him  !    Boys,  kill  you , 

and  then  for  the  watch.'  ,  .  .  All 
was  ready.  The  infernal  hag  was 
advancing  slowly,  probably  contem- 
plating the  best  way  of  despatch- 
ing me,  while  her  sons  should  be 
engaged  with  the  Indian." 

He  was  lying  with  finger  on  the 
trigger,  ready  to  fire,  when  the 
door  opened  and  two  travellers 
walked  in.  His  tale  was  told : 
the  Indian  "  fairly  danced  with 
joy  "  :  the  half-drunken  family  was 
secured,  when,  "  having  used  them 
as  Regulators  were  wont  to  use 
such  delinquents,  we  set  fire  to  the 
cabin."  We  should  have  fancied 
that  to  be  a  delicate  paraphrase 
for  stringing  them  up  to  any  con- 
venient bough.  But  it  appears 
from  the  sequel  that  the  mild- 
mannered  Regulators  in  these  parts 
practised  less  summary  methods. 
When  a  habit-and-repute  criminal 
made  himself  exceptionally  objec- 
tionable by  repeated  atrocities, 
they  led  him  into  the  solitude  of 
the  forest,  searched  the  woods,  and 
surrounded  them  with  a  mounted 
cordon,  and  then  flogged  the  victim 
within  an  inch  of  his  life  —  or 
beyond — in  the  certainty  that  no 
one  would  hear  his  yells.  If  he 
survived,  it  was  a  broad  hint  to 
be  off — the  rather  that  they  had 


proceeded  to  burn  his  cabin.  If 
he  took  the  hint,  good  and  well ; 
if  not,  and  he  were  charged  with 
offences  again,  the  bare  suspicion 
sufficed  to  hang  him. 

These  Regulators  were  law- 
enforcing  folk,  but  naturally  the 
naturalist  often  found  himself  in 
more  doubtful  company.  Before 
he  associated  with  voyageurs  and 
mountain-men  on  the  Upper  Mis- 
souri, he  had  made  acquaintance 
among  others  with  Florida  wreck- 
ers, Tortugas  turtlers,  and  Lab- 
rador eggers.  The  business  of 
the  wreckers  lay  among  those 
keys  and  creeks  in  the  Mexican 
Gulf  of  which  we  shall  hear  more 
in  the  next  few  months,  now  that 
war  has  broken  out  between  the 
Union  and  Spain.  Shoals,  reefs, 
and  shallows  make  the  coasts 
perilously  dangerous,  and  those 
wreckers  drove  a  thriving  trade, 
though  it  could  scarcely  be  called 
an  honourable  industry.  But  they 
did  not,  like  the  Oornishmen  or 
Bretons,  lure  ships  ashore  by  false 
lights :  they  only  plundered  the 
vessels  that  had  already  come  to 
grief.  Audubon  found  them  a 
very  decent  set  of  fellows, — eager 
to  welcome  him  on  board  as  a 
passenger,  and  keen  to  assist  his 
zoological  collections.  To  his  sur- 
prise, their  vessels  were  swift, 
clean,  and  commodious  :  they  seem 
to  have  resembled  our  fruiterers 
of  thirty  years  ago,  which  used 
to  run  between  the  Channel  and 
the  Azores.  He  speaks  very  dif- 
ferently of  the  eggers  of  Labrador ; 
but  two  of  a  trade  can  never  agree. 
The  eggers  followed  a  legal  busi- 
ness, but  they  were  unmitigated 
ruffians  and  inveterate  drunkards. 
Their  ill-found  sloops  were  as  sea- 
worn  and  filthy  as  any  whaler 
that  has  been  cruising  for  years 
in  Antarctic  waters,  without  put- 
ting into  port.  They  made  de- 
scents on  the  breeding-places  to 


1898.] 

freight  their  barks  with  fresh  eggs, 
— which  might  have  been  legiti- 
mate enough.  But  what  roused 
Audubon's  indignation  was  the 
ruthless  brutality  with  which  they 
smashed  every  egg  they  came 
across,  and  trampled  the  helpless 
fledglings  underfoot.  The  stench 
of  those  breeding  -  places  at  the 
best  is  bad ;  but  after  a  visit  from 
those  marauders  it  was  simply 
pestilential.  It  was  some  comfort 
that  in  their  jealousy  and  by  re- 
tributive justice,  when  two  gangs 
met,  they  invariably  fought,  mak- 
ing use  of  their  guns  as  well  as 
cudgels.  Yet  the  warfare  generally 
wound  up  with  a  debauch  which 
made  the  drunkards  the  best  of 
friends  for  the  time  being.  The 
chapter  on  the  turtlers  takes  us 
to  the  Tortugas,  renowned  in  the 
annals  of  pirates  and  buccaneers, 
and  gives  us  the  most  vivid  ac- 
count we  have  read  of  the  haunts 
and  habits  of  the  turtle.  Monsters 
that  ran  to  several  hundredweights 
were  turned  by  several  men  with 
the  help  of  handspikes,  for  the  sake 
of  the  valuable  shells.  They  would 
have  been  ignominiously  rejected 
at  "The  Ship  and  Turtle"  in 
Leadenhall  Street,  and  even  in 
Tortugas  the  flesh  sold  for  less 
than  that  of  the  delicate  30- 
pounders.  One  curious  fact  is 
recorded.  The  turtles  when  sur- 
prised invariably  made  a  scramble 
for  the  sea,  and  fought  and  snapped 
viciously  when  intercepted.  But 
when  the  lady-fish,  as  Tom  Crin- 
gle calls  her,  is  depositing  her 
eggs  by  the  score,  she  lets  nothing 
interfere  with  that  important 
business.  Apparently  she  must 
finish  her  accouchement  co-Ate  qu'il 
codte,  and  so  she  falls  an  easy 
victim. 

The  naturalist's  outfit  for  those 
wanderings  in  the  woods  was  of 
the  slightest,  and  characteristic. 
No  wonder  that  the  backwoodsfolk 


A  Great  Naturalist. 


63 


who  saw  him  unpack  his  bundle  of 
a  night  were  puzzled  as  to  his  ob- 
jects. It  contained  a  shirt,  a  few 
powder -canisters,  some  pounds  of 
shot,  a  package  of  drawing-paper, 
and  a  box  of  colours.  In  all  cir- 
cumstances, unless  it  were  raining 
hard,  he  would  sit  down  to  sketch, 
and  then  sit  up  of  a  night  over  the 
smouldering  log-fire  to  write  up  his 
journal  or  preserve  a  skin.  Be- 
sides the  risks  he  ran  from  outlaws 
and  Indians,  his  hairbreadth  es- 
capes were  innumerable  from  the 
accidents  and  convulsions  of  the 
wilderness.  Repeatedly  he  went 
astray  in  the  woods,  when  the 
game  had  seemed  perversely  to 
elude  him,  and  he  was  brought 
to  the  verge  of  starvation.  He 
fled  before  forest -fires,  entangled 
among  pitfalls  and  fallen  trees,  till 
the  distant  crackling  and  subdued 
but  ominous  murmur  had  swelled 
into  an  appalling  roar,  and  the  fiery 
blasts  from  the  furnace  had  become 
almost  intolerable.  On  one  occa- 
sion he  just  intrenched  himself  in 
time  behind  a  lagoon,  to  escape 
scathless  except  for  scorched  skin 
and  burned  hair.  There  are  com- 
panion pictures  of  hurricanes  in 
the  woods  and  on  the  water,  which 
are  filled  in  with  extraordinary 
force,  for  the  scenes  seem  most 
realistically  to  present  themselves. 
In  the  former  case,  the  hurricane 
had  swept  by  him,  almost  within 
gunshot,  following  a  narrow  belt  as 
clearly  defined  as  the  track  of  the 
cholera-demon  through  an  Indian 
cantonment.  The  tornado  that 
cracked  the  strongest  timber  like 
pipe-stems  carried  with  it  "a  min- 
gled mass  of  twigs  and  foliage  that 
obscured  the  view."  When  all  was 
over,  "  the  mass  of  branches,  twigs, 
foliage,  and  dust  was  whirled  on- 
wards like  a  cloud  of  feathers,  and 
on  passing  disclosed  a  wide  space 
filled  with  fallen  trees,  naked 
stumps,  and  heaps  of  shapeless 


64 


A  Great  Naturalist, 


[July 


ruins,  which  marked  the  path  of 
the  tempest." 

Even  more  impressive,  perhaps, 
is  the  description  of  the  Florida 
storm  which  fortunately  surprised 
him  when  within  half  a  cable's 
length  of  the  beach.  "  The  waters 
drifted  like  snow  :  the  tough  man- 
groves hid  their  tops  among  their 
roots,  and  the  loud  roaring  of  the 
waves  driven  among  them  blended 
with  the  howl  of  the  tempest." 
Then,  by  way  of  contrast  and  be- 
fore taking  leave  of  these  varied 
episodes,  we  may  turn  to  the 
softer  poetry  of  a  forest  sunset, 
for  the  naturalist  has  the  true  in- 
spiration of  the  poet : — 

"  The  sun  was  setting  with  a  fiery 
aspect,  and  by  degrees  it  sunk  in  its 
full  circular  form,  as  if  giving  warning 
of  a  sultry  morrow.  Myriads  of  in- 
sects, delighted  at  its  departure,  now 
filled  the  air  on  buzzing  wings.  Each 
piping  frog  arose  from  the  muddy 
pool  in  which  it  had  concealed  itself  : 
the  squirrel  retired  to  its  hole,  the 
crow  to  its  roost,  and  far  above,  the 
harsh,  croaking  voice  of  the  heron  an- 
nounced that,  full  of  anxiety,  it  was 
wending  its  way  towards  the  miry  in- 
terior of  some  distant  swamp.  Now 
the  woods  began  to  resound  to  the 
shrill  cries  of  the  owl ;  and  the  breeze, 
as  it  swept  among  the  columnar  stems 
of  the  forest  trees,  came  laden  with 
heavy  and  chilling  dews." 

In  short,  he  makes  us  under- 
stand and  sympathise  with  no 
little  of  the  fascination  of  swamp 
and  forest  for  the  born  woodsman. 
There  could  hardly  be  a  more 
startling  change  of  habits  when 
most  reluctantly  he  came  over  to 
Europe  to  tout  for  subscriptions 
for  his  great  ornithological  work. 
But  Americans,  at  once  cultured 
and  rich,  were  few,  and  there  was 
no  help  for  it.  Doubtless  he  was 
partly  actuated  by  honourable 
ambition,  but  it  was  chiefly  by  a 
grave  sense  of  duty.  In  some 
respects  he  was  an  indifferent 


husband.  His  wife  could  never 
tie  the  rover  to  her  apron-strings, 
and  as  for  sticking  to  the  desk 
and  counting-house,  that  was  al- 
together out  of  the  question. 
Nevertheless,  he  was  the  most 
affectionate  of  husbands  and  the 
most  doating  of  fathers.  Now  he 
saw  his  way,  though  a  very  dis- 
agreeable one,  to  making  satis- 
factory provision  for  them.  We 
are  safe  to  say  it  needed  more 
constancy,  if  not  more  courage, 
than  all  the  perils  and  hardships 
he  had  faced  in  the  woods.  He 
came  to  England,  whither  his  fame 
had  preceded  him,  with  good  in- 
troductions, which  were  hospitably 
honoured.  He  found  a  host  of 
congenial  spirits  in  amateurs, 
artists,  and  men  of  science. 
Wherever  he  went,  almost  with- 
out exception,  he  was  offered  a 
home,  and  he  need  seldom  have 
put  up  at  a  hotel  or  dined 
alone  in  his  lodgings.  Moreover, 
he  found  generous  friends  and 
patrons,  nor  had  he  any  of  the 
unpleasant  experiences  of  Johnson 
in  the  anteroom  of  Lord  Chester- 
field. But  never  was  man  more 
heartily  home-sick  :  he  even  looked 
back  with  fond  longing  to  the  pes- 
tilential Floridan  lagoons,  where 
alligators  were  the  stepping-stones 
and  water-snakes  the  foot-snares. 
The  deerskin  shirt  was  easier 
wear  than  the  swallow-tail  coat ; 
if  there  was  one  thing  he  did 
detest,  it  was  a  ceremonial  dinner ; 
and  he  looked  forward  with  the 
apprehension  of  a  shy  schoolboy 
to  meeting  a  statesman  or  even  a 
great  nobleman.  Yet  there  was 
not  a  touch  of  vulgarity  in  that : 
it  was  merely  a  want  of  familiarity 
and  the  imaginative  dread  of  the 
unknown.  Audubon  was  intensely 
imaginative  and  emotional :  the 
nerves  that  never  failed  him  before 
savage  or  bear  were  tremulous  in 
the  horrors  of  ceremonious  society. 


1898.] 


A  Great  Naturalist. 


65 


But  he  kept  these  inner  secrets 
for  his  private  note  -  books,  and 
was  stoical  in  society  to  appear- 
ance, as  an  Indian  at  the  stake. 
Frequently  there  was  the  surprise 
of  delightful  reaction.  Like 
Roland  Grseme  when  ushered 
into  the  presence  of  Murray,  he 
had  much  dreaded  a  visit  to  the 
descendant  of  the  Regent's  trusted 
ally  at  Dalmahoy,  for  Lord  Morton 
had  held  high  office  at  Court.  He 
was  greatly  relieved  to  find  that 
the  veteran  courtier,  confined  to 
his  bath-chair  by  rheumatism  and 
gout,  was  an  object  of  compassion 
rather  than  terror.  Yet  it  would 
be  a  mistake  to  fancy  that  he  ever 
showed  awkwardness.  He  had 
all  the  easy  grace  of  his  French 
parentage,  and  the  stately  dignity 
of  his  Spanish  blood.  And  he  had 
the  dignity,  besides,  of  a  self- 
respecting  man,  with  a  discrim- 
inating sense  of  his  own  gifts 
and  superiority.  He  knew  well 
where  he  excelled,  as  he  was 
equally  alive  to  his  artistic  short- 
comings. 

We  have  spoken  of  his  "  tout- 
ing "  for  subscriptions,  and  the 
trivial  expression  is  at  once  appli- 
cable and  misleading.  Needless 
to  say  that  he  never  stooped  to 
humiliation,  still  less  to  servility. 
But,  on  the  other  hand,  he  experi- 
enced the  mortifications,  the  dis- 
appointments, and  the  delays  which 
always  await  those  who  must 
stoop  to  make  attacks  on  other 
men's  purses.  Rich  squires  and 
stately  nobles  who  were  free  with 
their  dinners  and  their  wines  were 
slow  to  come  forward  as  sub- 
scribers. Curators  of  museums 
and  college  librarians,  eloquent  of 
praise  of  his  drawings,  regretted 
the  narrow  means  which  compelled 
their  institutions  to  severe  econ- 
omy. Subscribers  who  had  signed 
engagements  in  moments  of  ex- 
pansion, shamelessly  repudiated 

VOL.  CLXIV. — NO.   DCCCCXCIII. 


them.  On  the  whole,  he  did  fairly 
well  in  that  travelling  business  ; 
but  sometimes  a  sojourn  in  such  a 
town  as  York  was  a  dead  loss,  and 
he  was  detained  in  Paris  for  many 
weeks  waiting  the  good  pleasure  or 
the  caprice  of  royal  patrons. 

The  impressions  which  the  Eng- 
land of  seventy  years  ago  made  on 
a  quick-sighted  American  are  curi- 
ously interesting.  On  the  long 
voyage,  delayed  by  baffling  winds 
and  protracted  calms,  he  had  be- 
guiled the  time  by  studying  the 
habits  of  sharks,  porpoises,  and 
dolphins,  of  sea-birds  and  migrants. 
But  he  was  heartily  tired  of  it  all 
when  he  sighted  Cape  Clear,  and 
his  soul  was  gladdened  by  the 
hedgerows  of  Wales,  as  the  vessel 
tacked  up  the  Irish  Channel. 
Landing  at  Liverpool,  he  found 
himself  at  once  one  of  the  family 
in  the  hospitable  households  of  the 
Rathbones  and  Roscoes.  In  their 
houses  he  made  useful  and  agree- 
able acquaintances ;  but  the  first 
of  his  meetings  with  really  illus- 
trious Englishmen  was  that  with 
Lord  Stanley.  His  feelings  before 
it  came  off  are  eminently  illustra- 
tive of  his  temperament.  His 
lordship  was  the  statesman  and 
future  Premier ;  but  he  seems  to 
have  been  nearly  as  enthusiastic 
a  naturalist  as  his  father  the  thir- 
teenth Earl,  who  made  the  famous 
collections  at  Knowsley.  "  My 
head  was  full  of  Lord  Stanley.  I 
am  a  very  poor  fool,  to  be  sure,  to 
be  troubled  at  the  idea  of  meeting 
an  English  gentleman,  when  those 
I  have  met  have  been  in  kindness, 
manners,  talent,  all  I  could  desire." 
When  his  lordship  entered  the 
room,  "  my  hair,  and  I  have 
enough,  stood  on  end,  I  am  sure." 
Lord  Stanley  cordially  shook 
hands,  saying  easily — as  might 
have  been  expected — "  I  am  glad 
to  see  you  ; "  and  "  the  words  and 
manner  put  me  at  once  at  my 
E 


66 


A  Great  Naturalist. 


[July 


ease."  A  few  minutes  more  and 
the  dreaded  visitor  was  kneeling 
on  the  carpet,  turning  over  the 
drawings.  "  He  is  a  great  nat- 
uralist ;  and  in  an  instant  he  was 
exclaiming,  '  Fine  ! '  c  Beautiful ! ' 
...  I  forgot  he  was  Lord  Stanley. 
I  knew  only  he  too  loved  nature." 
Indeed  Audubon  was  a  very  singu- 
lar compound  of  nervous  modesty 
and  innocent  vanity.  He  reminds 
us  of  Fanny  Burney  over  the  debut 
of  '  Evelina,'  in  the  sensitiveness 
to  criticism,  unaffected  in  his  case, 
and  in  the  voluptuous  modesty 
with  which  he  eagerly  reports  all 
the  civil  and  nattering  things 
that  were  said  to  him. 

Liverpool  and  Manchester  were 
made  tolerable  by  cordial  welcomes 
and  by  sojourns  in  rural  mansions 
in  the  neighbourhoods.  But  during 
his  long  stay  in  the  British  Isles, 
Edinburgh  was  his  residence  of 
predilection :  Scott  himself  scarcely 
expresses  greater  affection  or  ad- 
miration for  "mine  own  romantic 
town."  Indeed  Audubon  came  to 
it  steeped  in  adoration  of  Scott, 
for  he  had  been  under  the  spell  of 
the  Magician  since  his  boyhood. 
He  stood  up  on  the  roof  of  the 
Hawick  mail,  vainly  stretching  his 
neck  for  one  glimpse  of  the 
chimneys  of  Abbotsford.  He 
wishes  patriotically  that  he  could 
have  transplanted  the  Wizard  to 
Kentucky,  to  have  immortalised  in 
romance  its  semi-tropical  wood- 
lands, with  the  magnolias  and  the 
deer,  the  eagles  and  the  songsters, 
before  they  are  swept  away  in  the 
rising  flood  of  industry,  commerce, 
and  agriculture.  Nor  can  we  have 
a  more  striking  proof  of  the  intel- 
lectual lustre  of  the  Edinburgh  of 
that  radiant  day  than  in  the  con- 
stellation of  remarkable  person- 
ages that  sparkle  in  those  journals. 
There  is  nothing  to  compare  to  it 
in  the  writer's  reminiscences  of 
London  or  Paris,  though  undoubt- 


edly that  may  be  due  in  some 
measure  to  the  more  concrete 
society  of  the  smaller  northern 
capital.  There  the  illustrious 
stranger  was  launched  at  once  in 
an  intellectual  world,  where  he 
saw  all  that  was  worth  the  seeing. 
We  make  a  few  selections  and  ex- 
tracts which  should  have  special 
interest  for  Scots,  though  we  should 
be  glad  to  quote  the  journal  almost 
in  toto.  Comfortably  established  in 
lodgings  in  George  Street,  his  life- 
long enthusiasm  for  Scott  sent  him 
straight  to  the  theatre  to  see  '  Rob 
Roy.'  We  presume  that  Murray 
was  personating  the  Bailie,  and 
that  Mackay  was  playing  in  the 
part  of  the  Dougal  Creature.  At 
any  rate,  Audubon  was  delighted : 
the  Highland  drama  was  put  on 
the  stage  just  as  he  had  imagined 
it ;  he  protests  that  '  Rob  Roy ' 
should  always  be  seen  in  Auld 
Reekie  as  «  Tartuffe  '  at  the  Fran- 
Qais.  Next  day  he  goes  to  leave 
a  letter  for  Jeffrey  :  being  Sun- 
day, Jeffrpy  was  probably  at  Craig- 
crook.  But  he  was  shown  into 
his  sanctum,  where  he  was  stag- 
gered by  the  masses  of  books  and 
letters,  the  beautiful  paintings, 
and,  above  all,  by  the  piles  of  un- 
opened parcels  addressed  to  the  edi- 
tor of  the  '  Edinburgh.'  "  <  What 
have  I  done,'  I  thought,  'compared 
to  what  this  man  has  done  and  has 
to  do  1  I  much  long  to  see  the 
famous  critic.'"  When  he  did  see 
him,  he  was  disappointed.  "His 
looks  were  shrewd,  but  I  thought 
his  eyes  almost  cunning.  .  .  .  He 
never  came  near  me,  and  I  never 
went  near  him,  for  if  he  was 
Jeffrey,  I  was  Audubon."  And 
he  was  annoyed  besides,  because 
as  Basil  Hall,  who  was  contemplat- 
ing his  American  tour,  persis- 
tently turned  the  conversation  in 
that  direction,  so  Jeffrey  always 
adroitly  diverted  it  to  indifferent 
subjects.  But  Audubon  had  been 


1898.] 

one  of  the  victims  of  the  Edin- 
burgh Reviewers  ;  the  men  had  no 
love  for  each  other.  While  he  wor- 
shipped the  romantic  genius  of 
Scott,  he  had  little  sympathy  with 
the  cold  intellect  of  the  critic. 

In  an  important  interview  he 
made  the  acquaintance  of  Lizars, 
who  first  undertook  the  engraving 
for  him,  though  subsequently  their 
relations  were  strained  or  inter- 
rupted. "  I  slowly  unbuckled  my 
portfolio,  and  with  my  heart  like 
a  stone,  held  up  a  drawing. 
Mr  Lizars  rose  from  his  seat,  ex- 
claiming, '  My  God,  I  never  saw 
anything  like  this  before  ! '  "  Next 
came  James  Wilson,  that  other 
American  ornithologist,  and  Sir 
William  Jardine  and  Mr  Selby — 
with  the  two  last  he  had  much 
friendly  and  ornithological  inter- 
course— and  afterwards  "  the  fa- 
mous Professor  Wilson  of  '  Black- 
wood  '  fame,  I  might  almost  say 
the  author  of  '  Blackwood's  Maga- 
zine,' "  and  the  elder  brother  of 
the  ornithologist.  Thereupon  he 
ejaculates,  in  genuine  Boswellian 
vein,  "How  proud  I  feel  that  in 
Edinburgh,  the  seat  of  learning, 
science,  and  solidity  of  judgment, 
I  am  liked  and  am  received  so 
kindly  ! "  He  returned  the  Pro- 
fessor's call  next  day  : — 

"  I  did  not  even  ask  if  Professor 
Wilson  was  in.  No  ;  I  simply  told 
the  man  to  say  that  Mr  Audubon  from 
America  wished  to  speak  with  him. 
In  a  moment  I  was  conducted  to  a, 
room  where  I  wished  that  all  that  had 
been  written  in  it  was  my  own  to  re- 
member, to  enjoy,  to  profit  by  ;  but 
I  had  not  been  here  many  minutes 
before  a  sweet  child,  a  happy  daugh- 
ter of  this  great  man,  asked  me  to  go 
up-stairs,  saying,  '  Papa  will  be  there 
in  a  minute  ; '  and  truly,  almost  at 
once,  the  Professor  came  in,  with  free- 
dom and  kindness  of  manner,  life  in 
his  eye  and  benevolence  in  his  heart." 

There  is  a  humorously  amusing 
account  of  a  banquet  on  St  An- 


A  Great  Naturalist. 


67 


drew's  Day,  when  the  American 
was  introduced  to  the  Scottish 
cuisine  of  the  olden  time,  followed 
by  a  second  substantial  dinner  ct, 
VAnglaise.  There  he  was  made 
temporarily  miserable  by  the  pros- 
pect of  having  to  return  thanks 
for  his  health,  which  he  did  in  the 
fewest  possible  words ;  and  then 
no  less  a  person  than  Sir  William 
Allan  entertained  the  company  by 
imitating  the  hummingof  a  bumble- 
bee, and  chasing  it  about  the  room, 
in  the  manner  of  John  Ballan- 
tyne  with  the  souter  and  his  black- 
bird. Autres  temps,  autres  mceurs  I 
Apropos  to  buzzing  bees,  Audubon 
writes  a  fortnight  afterwards  that, 
much  as  he  found  to  enjoy,  the 
dissipation,  the  painting,  and  his 
incessant  correspondence  makes  his 
head  feel  like  an  immense  hornet's- 
nest.  It  was  little  wonder.  He 
still  allowed  himself  only  four 
hours'  sleep,  and  worked  indefat- 
igably  at  his  easel,  even  in  the 
dark  northern  December.  His 
rapidity  and  facility  were  marvel- 
lous. He  tells  us  he  finished  an 
otter,  which  had  a  great  success, 
in  thirteen  hours.  The  laborious 
work  sounds  like  drudgery,  yet  he 
always  gave  soul  and  character  to 
the  birds  and  beasts.  There  is  an 
infinity  of  suggestive  romance  in 
the  pathos  and  comedy  of  his 
sylvan  studies.  Like  Joseph  Wolf, 
he  knew  the  art  of  enveloping  the 
night  -  prowlers  in  shadow,  dim 
moonlight,  and  mystery.  As  a 
tangible  and  material  proof  of  his 
mastership,  for  drawings  that  had 
cost  him  but  a  day  or  two  of  toil 
£100  or  even  £200  were  offered. 
He  did  well  as  it  was ;  but  it  would 
seem  he  might  have  made  his 
fortune  had  he  renounced  scien- 
tific ambition  for  lucrative  engage- 
ments. 

He  was  sufficiently  nervous 
when  he  made  the  acquaintance 
of  Dr  Brewster.  Reading  to  him, 


68 


A  Crreat  Naturalist. 


[July 


on  the  first  introduction,  a  paper 
on  the  habitg  of  the  carrion  crow, 
"  About  midway,  my  nervousness 
affected  my  respiration.  I  paused 
a  moment,  and  he  was  good  enough 
to  say  it  was  highly  interesting. 
...  I  felt  the  penetrating  looks 
and  keen  observation  of  the  learned 
man  before  me,  so  that  the  cold 
sweat  started  from  me."  But  that 
was  nothing  to  his  excitement  and 
emotion  when  at  length  he  saw 
the  author  of  '  Waverley '  in  the 
flesh.  The  meeting  had  been 
looked  forward  to,  and  longed  for, 
and  deferred,  like  that  of  Boswell 
with  Johnson.  Here  is  the  entry 
in  the  journal  on  that  memorable 
Monday : — 

"I  was  painting  diligently  when 
Captain  Hall  came  in  and  said,  '  Put 
on  your  coat  and  come  with  me  to 
Sir  Walter  Scott :  he  wishes  to  see 
you  now.'  In  a  moment  I  was  ready, 
for  I  really  believe  my  coat  and  hat 
came  to  me  instead  of  my  going  to 
them.  My  heart  trembled.  I  longed 
for  the  meeting,  yet  wished  it  over. 
Had  not  his  wondrous  pen  penetrated 
my  soul  with  the  consciousness  that 
here  was  a  genius  from  God's  hand  1 
.  .  .  Sir  Walter  came  forward,  pressed 
my  hand,  and  said  '  he  was  glad  to 
have  the  honour  of  meeting  me.'  His 
long,  loose,  silvery  locks  struck  me  : 
he  looked  like  Franklin  at  his  best. 
He  also  reminded  me  of  Benjamin 
West :  he  had  the  great  benevolence 
of  William  Roscoe  about  him,  and  a 
kindness  most  prepossessing.  I 
watched  his  movements  as  I  would 
those  of  a  celestial  being :  his  long, 
heavy,  white  eyebrows  struck  me 
forcibly.  .  .  .  There  was  much  con- 
versation. I  talked  little,  but,  be- 
lieve me,  I  listened  and  observed." 

On  the  following  day,  when  Sir 
Walter  shook  hands  with  him  at  a 
meeting  of  the  Royal  Society,  "  the 
mark  of  attention  was  observed  by 
other  members,  who  looked  at  me 
as  if  I  had  been  a  distinguished 
stranger."  One  other  extract,  and, 


reluctantly  as  Audubon,  we  must 
tear  ourselves  away  from  Edin- 
burgh. Indeed,  there  is  nothing 
of  equal  interest  recorded  else- 
where, except  when  he  met  Bewick 
at  Newcastle,  and  perhaps  when 
he  was  presented  to  Ouvier  in 
Paris.  Although  he  seems  to  have 
preferred  worshipping  in  the  woods 
to  services  in  temples  made  with 
hands,  he  went  to  church  in  George 
Street  on  one  noteworthy  occa- 
sion : — 

"  But  Sydney  Smith  preached.  Oh, 
what  a  soul  there  must  be  in  the  body 
of  that  great  man  !  What  sweet  yet 
energetic  thoughts,  what  goodness  he 
must  possess  !  It  was  a  sermon  to 
me.  He  made  me  smile,  and  he  made 
me  think  deeply.  He  pleased  me  at 
times  by  painting  my  foibles  with  due 
care,  and  again  I  felt  the  colour  come 
to  my  cheeks  as  he  portrayed  my  sins. 
I  left  the  church,  full  of  veneration 
not  only  towards  God,  but  towards 
the  wonderful  man  who  so  beautifully 
illustrates  his  noblest  handiwork." 

Much  as  we  admire  Sydney 
Smith's  versatile  talents,  we  must 
say,  as  Dugald  Dalgetty  said  to 
Argyle  in  the  marquis's  dungeon, 
that  we  never  heard  so  much 
good  of  him  as  a  preacher  before. 

The  most  eloquent  and  sympa- 
thetic tribute  of  a  compatriot  to 
the  wonderful  creative  genius  of 
the  peasant-born  Bewick  is  to  be 
found  in  Howitt's  'Visits  to  Re- 
markable Places';  but  Audubon, 
with  his  deeper  and  more  technical 
acquaintance  with  nature,  does  not 
yield  to  Howitt  in  unstinted  ad- 
miration for  "the  wonderful  man. 
I  call  him  wonderful  because  I 
am  sincerely  of  opinion  that  his 
work  on  wood  is  superior  to  any- 
thing ever  attempted  in  ornitho- 
logy." For  the  sake  of  Bewick 
the  banks  of  Tyne  had  been  as 
much  enchanted  ground  to  him 
as  those  of  Tweed  for  the  love  of 
Scott.  He  saw  the  venerable  en- 


1898.] 


A  Great  Naturalist. 


69 


graver  for  the  first  time,  and 
several  times  afterwards,  in  "  a 
half-clean  cotton  nightcap,  tinged 
with  the  smoke  of  the  place,"  and 
he  was  not  disenchanted.  From 
the  first  they  met  and  talked  on 
the  footing  of  old  and  familiar 
friends,  for  each  had  studied 
and  appreciated  the  work  of  the 
other.  His  reception  by  Cuvier 
and  Geoffrey  St  Hilaire  in  Paris, 
though  courteous  and  even  cordial, 
was  less  gratifying.  It  was  morti- 
fying to  the  American  "  woodsman" 
to  find  that  these  illustrious  French 
savants  had  never  heard  of  him  or 
of  his  ornithological  labours ;  but 
French  appreciation  is  not  cosmo- 
politan, and  is  limited  by  its  ignor- 
ance of  foreign  languages. 

We  shall  not  touch  on  the 
elaborate  journals  kept  faithfully 
as  ever  on  the  Upper  Missouri 
and  in  Labrador.  Though  full 


of  incident  and  abounding  in 
reminiscences  of  perils,  from  storm 
and  flood,  from  fevers  and  dysen- 
teries, from  wild  Indians  and  wild 
animals,  they  merely  amplify  in 
somewhat  monotonous  detail  the 
picturesque  retrospects  of  the 
"Episodes."  Temperate  habits, 
iron  health,  and  long  days  in 
the  open  air  stood  the  great 
naturalist  in  good  stead  to  the 
last.  Whatever  the  date  of  his 
birth  may  have  been,  he  was 
certainly  well  over  the  threescore 
years  and  ten  when  he  died  in 
New  York  in  1851,  of  no  active 
disease,  but  of  a  sudden  and  easy 
collapse.  He  lies  in  a  beautiful 
suburban  cemetery,  among  the 
flowers  and  beneath  the  trees  he 
loved  so  well,  and  under  a  stately 
monument  erected  to  his  memory 
by  the  New  York  Academy  of 
Sciences. 


70 


John  Splendid. 


[July 


JOHN  SPLENDID: 


THE    TALE    OP    A    POOR    GENTLEMAN,    AND    THE    LITTLE    WARS    OF    LORN. 


CHAPTER    XXIX. THE    RETURN. 


WE  got  a  cold  welcome  from  the 
women  of  our  own  clan  and  country. 
They  had  been  very  warm  and 
nattering  as  we  passed  north — the 
best  they  had  was  not  good  enough 
for  us ;  now  they  eyed  us  askance 
as  we  went  among  them  in  the 
morning.  Glenurchy  at  its  foot 
was  wailing  with  one  loud  unceas- 
ing coronach  made  up  of  many 
lamentations,  for  no  poor  croft,  no 
keep,  no  steading  in  all  the  coun- 
tryside almost,  but  had  lost  its 
man  at  Invorlochy.  It  was  ter- 
rible to  hear  those  sounds  and  see 
those  sights  of  frantic  women  setting 
every  thought  of  life  aside  to  give 
themselves  wholly  to  their  epitaphs 
for  the  men  who  would  come  no 
more. 

For  ordinary  our  women  keen 
but  when  they  are  up  in  years  and 
without  the  flowers  of  the  cheek 
that  the  salt  tear  renders  ugly ; 
women  who  have  had  good  practice 
with  grief,  who  are  so  far  off  from 
the  fore-world  of  childhood  where 
heaven  is  about  the  dubs  of  the 
door  that  they  find  something  of  a 
dismal  pleasure  in  making  wails 
for  a  penny  or  two  or  a  cogie  of 
soldier's  brose.  They  would  as 
soon  be  weeping  as  singing ;  have 
you  not  seen  them  hurrying  to  the 
hut  to  coronach  upon  a  corpse,  with 
the  eager  step  of  girls  going  to  the 
last  dance  of  the  harvest  ]  Bel- 
dames, witches,  I  hate  your  dirges, 
that  are  but  an  old  custom  of 
lamentation  !  But  Glenurchy  and 
Lochow  to-day  depended  for  their 
sorrow  upon  no  hired  mourners, 


upon  no  aged  play-actors  at  the 
passion  of  grief;  cherry-cheeked 
maidens  wept  as  copiously  as  their 
grand- dames,  and  so  this  universal 
coronach  that  rose  and  fell  on  the 
wind  round  by  Stronmealachan  and 
Inishtrynich,  and  even  out  upon 
the  little  isles  that  snuggle  in  the 
shadow  of  Cruachan  Ben,  had  many 
an  unaccustomed  note;  many  a 
cry  of  anguish  from  the  deepest 
well  of  sorrow  came  to  the  ear.  To 
walk  by  a  lake  and  hear  griefs 
chant  upon  neighbouring  isles  is 
the  chief  of  the  Hundred  Dolours. 
Of  itself  it  was  enough  to  make  us 
melancholy  and  bitter,  but  it  was 
worse  to  see  in  the  faces  of  old 
women  and  men  who  passed  us 
surly  on  the  road,  the  grudge  that 
we  had  been  spared,  we  gentlemen 
in  the  relics  of  fine  garments,  while 
their  own  lads  had  been  taken.  It 
was  half  envy  that  we,  and  not 
their  own,  still  lived,  and  half 
anger  that  we  had  been  useless  in 
preventing  the  slaughter  of  their 
kinsmen.  As  we  walked  in  their 
averted  or  surly  looks,  we  had  no 
heart  to  resent  them,  for  was  it  not 
human  nature  ?  Even  when  a  very 
old  crooked  man  with  a  beard  like 
the  foam  of  the  linn,  and  eyes  worn 
deep  in  their  black  sockets  by  con- 
stant staring  upon  care,  and  through 
the  black  mystery  of  life,  stood  at 
his  door  among  his  wailing 
daughters,  and  added  to  his  rhym- 
ing a  scurrilous  verse  whereof  we 
were  the  subjects,  we  did  no  more 
than  hurry  our  pace. 

By  the  irony  of  nature  it  was  a 


Copyright,  1897,  by  Dodd,  Mead  &  Co.  in  the  United  States  of  America. 


1898.] 


John  Splendid. 


71 


day  bright  and  sunny  ;  the  londubli 
parted  his  beak  of  gold  and  warbled 
flutey  from  the  grove,  indifferent  to 
all  this  sorrow  of  the  human  world. 
Only  in  far-up  gashes  of  the  hills 
was  there  any  remnant  of  the  snow 
we  had  seen  cover  the  country  like 
a  cloak  but  a  few  days  before.  The 
crows  moved  briskly  about  in  the 
trees  of  Cladich,  and  in  roupy  voices 
said  it  might  be  February  of  the 
full  dykes  but  surely  winter  was 
over  and  gone.  Lucky  birds  !  they 
were  sure  enough  of  their  meals 
among  the  soft  soil  that  now  fol- 
lowed the  frost  in  the  fields  and 
gardens ;  but  the  cotters,  when  their 
new  grief  was  weary,  would  find  it 
hard  to  secure  a  dinner  in  all  the 
country  once  so  well  provided  with 
herds  and  hunters,  now  reft  of  both. 

I  was  sick  of  this  most  doleful 
expedition;  M'lver  was  no  less, 
but  he  mingled  his  pity  for  the 
wretches  about  us  with  a  shrewd 
care  for  the  first  chance  of  helping 
some  of  them.  It  came  to  him  un- 
expectedly in  a  dark  corner  of  the 
way  through  Cladich  wood,  where  a 
yeld  hind  lay  with  a  broken  leg  at 
the  foot  of  a  creag  or  rock  upon 
which  it  must  have  stumbled.  Up 
he  hurried,  and  despatched  and. 
gralloched  it  with  his  sgian  dubli 
in  a  twinkling,  and  then  he  ran 
back  to  a  cot  where  women  and 
children  half  craved  us  as  we 
passed,  and  took  some  of  them  up 
to  this  lucky  find  and  divided  the 
spoil.  It  was  a  thin  beast,  a  prey 
no  doubt  to  the  inclement  weather, 
with  ivy  and  acorn,  its  last  meal, 
still  in  its  paunch. 

It  was  not,  however,  till  we  had 
got  down  Glenaora  as  far  as  Carnus 
that  we  found  either  kindness  or 
conversation.  In  that  pleasant 
huddle  of  small  cothouses,  the 
Macarthurs,  aye  a  dour  and  buoy- 
ant race,  were  making  up  their 
homes  again  as  fast  as  they  could, 
inspired  by  the  old  philosophy  that 


if  an  inscrutable  God  should  level  a 
poor  man's  dwelling  with  the  dust 
of  the  valley,  he  should  even  take 
the  stroke  with  calmness  and  start 
to  the  building  again.  So  the  Mac- 
arthurs, some  of  them  back  from 
their  flight  before  Antrim  and 
Athole,  were  throng  bearing  stone 
from  the  river  and  turf  from  the 
brae,  and  setting  up  those  homes  of 
the  poor,  that  have  this  advantage 
over  the  homes  of  the  wealthy,  that 
they  are  so  easily  replaced.  In  this 
same  Carnus,  in  later  years,  I  have 
made  a  meal  that  showed  curiously 
the  resource  of  its  people.  Hunt- 
ing one  day,  I  went  to  a  little  cot- 
house  there  and  asked  for  some- 
thing to  eat.  A  field  of  unreaped 
barley  stood  ripe  and  dry  before  the 
door.  Out  the  housewife  went  and 
cut  some  straws  of  it,  while  her 
daughter  shook  cream  in  a  bottle, 
chanting  a  churn-charm  the  while. 
The  straw  was  burned  to  dry  the 
grain,  the  breeze  win'd  it,  the  quern 
ground  it,  the  fire  cooked  the  ban- 
nocks of  it.  Then  a  cow  was 
milked,  a  couple  of  eggs  were  found 
in  the  loft,  and  I  sat  down  in  a 
marvellously  short  space  of  time  to 
bread  and  butter,  milk,  eggs,  and 
a  little  drop  of  spirits  that  was 
the  only  ready  -  made  provand  in 
the  house.  And  though  now 
they  were  divided  between  the 
making  of  coronachs  and  the  build- 
ing of  their  homes,  they  had  still 
the  art  to  pick  a  dinner,  as  it  were, 
off  the  lichened  stone. 

There  was  one  they  called  Niall 
Mor  a  Chamais  (Big  Neil  of 
Kames),  who  in  his  day  won  the 
applause  of  courts  by  slaying  the 
Italian  bully  who  bragged  Scotland 
for  power  of  thew,  and  I  liked 
Niall  Mor's  word  to  us  as  we  pro- 
ceeded on  our  way  to  Inneraora. 

"Don't  think,"  said  he,  "that 
MacCailein's  beat  yet,  or  that  the 
boar's  tusks  are  reaped  from  his 
jaw.  I  am  of  an  older  clan  than 


72 


John  Splendid. 


[July 


Campbell,  and  closer  on  Diarmaid 
than  Argile  himself ;  but  we  are  all 
under  the  one  banner  now,  and  I'll 
tell  you  two  gentlemen  something. 
They  may  tear  Castle  Inneraora  out 
at  the  roots,  stable  their  horses  in 
the  yard  of  Kilmalieu,  and  tread 
real  Argile  in  the  clay,  but  we'll  be 
even  with  them  yet.  I  have  an 
arm  here  "  (and  he  held  up  a  bloody- 
looking  limb,  hashed  at  Inver- 
lochy) ;  "  I'll  build  my  home  when 
this  is  mended,  and  I'll  challenge 
MacDonald  till  my  mouth  is  gagged 
with  the  clod." 

"  And  they  tell  me  your  son  is 
dead  yonder,"  I  said,  pitying  the 
old  man  who  had  now  no  wife  nor 
child. 

"  So  they  tell  me,"  said  he ; 
"  that's  the  will  of  God,  and  better 
a  fast  death  on  the  field  than  a 
decline  on  the  feather-bed.  I'll  be 
weeping  for  my  boy  when  I  have 
bigged  my  house  again  and  paid  a 
call  to  some  of  his  enemies." 

Niall  Mor's  philosophy  was  very 
much  that  of  all  the  people  of  the 
glen,  such  of  them  as  were  left. 
They  busily  built  their  homes  and 
pondered,  as  they  wrought,  on  the 
score  to  pay. 

"That's  just  like  me,"  M'lver 
would  say  after  speeches  like  that 
of  Niall  Mor.  He  was  ever  one 
who  found  of  a  sudden  all  another 
person's  traits  in  his  own  bosom 
when  their  existence  was  first  mani- 
fested to  him.  "  That's  just  like  me 
myself;  we  are  a  beaten  clan  (in  a 
fashion),  but  we  have  our  chief  and 
many  a  thousand  swords  to  the  fore 
yet.  I  declare  to  you  I  am  quite 
cheery  thinking  we  will  be  coming 
back  again  to  those  glens  and  mounts 
we  have  found  so  cruel  because  of 
our  loneliness,  and  giving  the  Mac- 
Donalds  and  the  rest  of  the  duddy 
crew  the  sword  in  a  double  dose." 

"Ay,  John,"  said  I,  "it's  easy 
for  you  to  be  light-hearted  in  the 
matter.  You  may  readily  build 


your  bachelor's  house  at  Barbreck, 
and  I  may  set  up  again  the  barn  at 
Elrigmore ;  but  where  husband  or 
son  is  gone  it's  a  different  Btory. 
For  love  is  a  passion  stronger  than 
hate.  Are  you  not  wondering  that 
those  good  folk  on  either  hand  of 
us  should  not  be  so  stricken  that 
they  would  be  sitting  in  ashes, 
weeping  like  Kachel  1 " 

"  We  are  a  different  stuff  from 
the  lady  you  mention,"  he  said;  "I 
am  aye  thinking  the  Almighty  put 
us  into  this  land  of  rocks  and  holds, 
and  scalloped  coast,  cold,  hunger, 
and  the  chase,  just  to  keep  ourselves 
warm  by  quarrelling  with  each 
other.  If  we  had  not  the  recrea- 
tion now  and  then  of  a  bit  splore 
with  the  sword,  we  should  be  lazily 
rotting  to  decay.  The  world's  well 
divided  after  all,  and  the  happiness 
as  well  as  the  dule  of  it.  It  is  be- 
cause I  have  never  had  the  pleasure 
of  wife  nor  child  I  am  a  little  better 
off  to-day  than  the  weeping  folks 
about  me,  and  they  manage  to  make 
up  their  share  of  content  with  re- 
flections upon  the  sweetness  of 
revenge.  There  was  never  a  man 
so  poor  and  miserable  in  this  world 
yet  but  he  had  his  share  of  it,  even 
if  he  had  to  seek  it  in  the  bottle. 
Amn't  I  rather  clever  to  think  of  it 
now  ?  Have  you  heard  of  the  idea 
in  your  classes  ? " 

"  It  is  a  notion  very  antique,"  I 
confessed,  to  his  annoyance  ;  "  but 
it  is  always  to  your  credit  to  have 
thought  it  out  for  yourself.  It  is  a 
notion  discredited  here  and  there 
by  people  of  judgment,  but  a  very 
comfortable  delusion  (if  it  is  one) 
for  such  as  are  well  off,  and  would 
salve  their  consciences  against  the 
miseries  of  the  poor  and  distressed. 
And  perhaps,  after  all,  you  and  the 
wise  man  of  old  are  right ;  the  low- 
est state — even  the  swineherd's — 
may  have  as  many  compensations 
as  that  of  his  master  the  Earl. 
It  is  only  sin,  as  my  father  would 


1898." 


John  Splendid. 


73 


say,  that  keeps  the  soul  in  a  wel- 
ter  " 

"Does  it  indeed?"  said  John, 
lightly;  "the  merriest  men  ever  I 
met  were  rogues.  I've  had  some 
vices  myself  in  foreign  countries, 
though  I  aye  had  the  grace  never 
to  mention  them,  and  I  ken  I  ought 
to  be  stewing  with  remorse  for  them, 
but  am  I  ?  " 

"Are  you?"  I  asked. 

"If  you  put  it  so  straight,  I'll 
say  No — save  at  my  best,  and  my 
best  is  my  rarest.  But  come,  come, 
we  are  not  going  into  Inneraora  on 
a  debate-parade ;  let  us  change  the 
subject.  Do  you  know  I'm  like  a 
boy  with  a  sweet-cake  in  this  en- 
trance to  our  native  place.  1  would 
like  not  to  gulp  down  the  experi- 
ence all  at  once  like  a  glutton,  but 
to  nibble  round  the  edges  of  it. 
"We'll  take  the  highway  by  the 
shoulder  of  Creag  Dubh,  and  let 
the  loch  slip  into  our  view." 

I  readily  enough  fell  in  with  a 
plan  that  took  us  a  bit  off  our  way, 
for  I  was  in  a  glow  of  eagerness 
and  apprehension.  My  passion  to 
come  home  was  as  great  as  on  the 
night  I  rode  up  from  Skip  ness  after 
my  seven  years  of  war,  even  greater 
perhaps,  for  I  was  returning  to  a 
home  now  full  of  more  problems 
than  then.  The  restitution  of  my 
father's  house  was  to  be  set  about, 
six  months  of  hard  stint  were  per- 
haps to  be  faced  by  my  people,  and, 
above  all,  I  had  to  find  out  how  it 
stood  between  a  certain  lady  and 
me. 

Coming  this  way  from  Lochow, 
the  traveller  will  get  his  first  sight 
of  the  waters  of  Loch  Finne  by 
standing  on  a  stone  that  lies  upon 
a  little  knowe  above  his  lordship's 
stables.  It  is  a  spot,  they  say, 
Argile  himself  had  a  keen  relish 
for,  and  after  a  day  of  chasing  the 
deer  among  the  hills  and  woods, 
sometimes  would  he  come  and 
stand  there  and  look  with  satisfac- 


tion on  his  country.  For  he  could 
see  the  fat,  rich  fields  of  his  policies 
there,  and  the  tumultuous  sea  that 
swarms  with  fish,  and  to  his  left  he 
could  witness  Glenaora  and  all  the 
piled  up  numerous  mountains  that 
are  full  of  story  if  not  of  crop.  To 
this  little  knowe  M'lver  and  I 
made  our  way.  I  would  have 
rushed  on  it  with  a  boy's  impetu- 
ousness,  but  he  stopped  me  with  a 
hand  on  the  sleeve. 

"  Canny,  canny,"  said  he,  "  let 
us  get  the  very  best  of  it.  There's 
a  cloud  011  the  sun  that'll  make 
Finne  as  cold,  flat,  and  dead  as 
lead  ;  wait  till  it  passes." 

We  waited  but  a  second  or  two, 
and  then  the  sun  shot  out  above 
us,  and  we  stepped  on  the  hillock 
and  we  looked,  with  our  bonnets  in 
our  hands. 

Loch  Finne  stretched  out  before 
us,  a  spread  of  twinkling  silver 
waves  that  searched  into  the  curves 
of  a  myriad  bays  ;  it  was  dotted 
with  skiffs.  And  the  yellow  light 
of  the  early  year  gilded  the  remotest 
hills  of  Ardno  and  Ben  Ime,  and 
the  Old  Man  Mountain  lifted  his 
ancient  rimy  chin,  still  merrily  de- 
fiant, to  the  sky.  The  parks  had  a 
greener  hue  than  any  we  had  seen 
to  the  north ;  the  town  revealed 
but  its  higher  chimneys  and  the 
gable  of  the  kirk,  still  its  smoke 
told  of  occupation  ;  the  castle 
frowned  as  of  old,  and  over  all  rose 
Dunchuach. 

"  0  Dunchuach  !  Dunchuach  !  " 
cried  M'lver,  in  an  ecstasy,  spread- 
ing out  his  arms,  and  I  thought  of 
the  old  war-worn  Greeks  who  came 
with  weary  marches  to  their  native 
seas. 

"Dunchuach  !  Dunchuach  !  "  he 
said  ;  "  far  have  I  wandered,  and 
many  a  town  I've  seen,  and  many 
a  prospect  that  was  fine,  and  I  have 
made  songs  to  maids  and  mountains, 
and  foreign  castles  too,  but  never 
a  verse  to  Dunchuach.  I  do  not 


74 


John  Splendid. 


know  the  words,  but  at  my  heart 
is  lilting  the  very  tune,  and  the 
spirit  of  it  is  here  at  my  breast." 

Then  the  apple  rose  in  his  throat, 
and  he  turned  him  round  about 
that  I  might  not  guess  the  tear  was 
at  his  eye. 

"Tuts,"  said  I,  broken,  "'tis  at 
my  own ;  I  feel  like  a  girl." 

"  Just  a  tickling  at  the  pap  o'  the 
hass,"  he  said  in  English;  and  then 
we  both  laughed. 

It  was  the  afternoon  when  we 
got  into  the  town.  The  street  was 
in  the  great  confusion  of  a  fair-day, 
crowded  with  burgesses  and  land- 
ward tenants,  men  and  women  from 
all  parts  of  the  countryside  still 
on  their  way  back  from  flight,  or 
gathered  for  news  of  Inverlochy 
from  the  survivors,  of  whom  we 
were  the  last  to  arrive.  Tradesmen 
from  the  Lowlands  were  busy  fitting 
shops  and  houses  with  doors  and 
windows,  or  filling  up  the  gaps 
made  by  fire  in  the  long  lands,  for 
MacCailein's  first  thought  on  his 
return  from  Edinburgh  had  been 
the  comfort  of  the  common  people. 
Seamen  clamoured  at  the  quay, 
loud  -  spoken  mariners  from  the 
ports  of  Greenock  and  Dunbarton 
and  their  busses  tugged  at  anchor 
in  the  upper  bay  or  sat  shoulder  to 
shoulder  in  a  friendly  congregation 
under  the  breast-wall,  laden  to  the 


beams  with  merchandise  and  pro- 
vender for  this  hungry  country.  If 
Inneraora  had  been  keening  for  the 
lost  of  Inverlochy,  it  had  got  over 
it ;  at  least  we  found  no  public 
lamentation  such  as  made  our  tra- 
verse on  Lochow  -  side  so  dreary. 
Rather  was  there  something  eager 
and  rapt  about  the  comportment  of 
the  people.  They  talked  little  of 
what  was  over  and  bye  with,  except 
to  curse  our  Lowland  troops,  whose 
unacquaintance  with  native  war  had 
lost  us  Inverlochy.  The  women 
went  about  their  business,  red-eyed, 
wan,  silent,  for  the  most  part ;  the 
men  mortgaged  the  future,  and 
drowned  care  in  debauchery  in  the 
alehouses.  A  town  all  out  of  its 
ordinary,  tapsilteerie.  Walking  in 
it,  I  was  beat  to  imagine  clearly 
what  it  had  been  like  in  its  placid 
day  of  peace.  I  could  never  think 
of  it  as  ever  again  to  be  free  from 
this  most  tawdry  aspect  of  war,  a 
community  in  good  order,  with  the 
day  moving  from  dawn  to  dusk 
with  douce  steps,  and  no  sharp 
agony  at  the  public  breast. 

But  we  had  no  excuse  for  linger- 
ing long  over  our  first  entrance 
upon  its  blue  flagstone  pavements ; 
our  first  duty  was  to  report  our- 
selves in  person  to  our  commander, 
whose  return  to  Inneraora  Castle 
we  had  been  apprised  of  at  Cladich. 


CHAPTER   XXX. ARGILE  S    BEDROOM. 


This  need  for  waiting  upon  his 
lordship  so  soon  after  the  great 
reverse  was  a  sour  bite  to  swallow, 
for  M'lver  as  well  as  myself. 
M'lver,  had  he  his  own  way  of  it, 
would  have  met  his  chief  and 
cousin  alone;  and  he  gave  a  hint 
delicately  of  that  kind,  affecting  to 
be  interested  only  in  sparing  me 
the  trouble  and  helping  me  home 
to  Elrigmore,  where  my  father  and 
his  men  had  returned  three  days 


before.  But  I  knew  an  officer's 
duty  too  well  for  that,  and  insisted 
on  accompanying  him,  certain 
(with  some  mischievous  humour 
in  spoiling  his  fair  speeches)  that 
he  dared  scarcely  be  so  fair-faced 
and  flattering  to  MacCailein  before 
me  as  he  would  be  alone  with  him. 
The  castle  had  the  stillness  of 
the  grave.  Every  guest  had  fled 
as  quickly  as  he  could  from  this 
retreat  of  a  naked  and  ashamed 


1898.] 


John  Splendid. 


75 


soul.  Where  pipers  played  as  a 
custom,  and  laughter  rang,  there 
was  the  melancholy  hush  of  a  mon- 
astery. The  servants  went  about 
a-tiptoe,  speaking  in  whispers  lest 
their  master  should  be  irritated  in 
his  fever ;  the  very  banner  on  the 
tower  hung  limp  about  its  pole, 
hiding  the  black  galley  of  its 
blazon,  now  a  lymphad  of  disgrace. 
As  we  went  over  the  bridge  a 
little  dog,  his  lordship's  favourite, 
lying  at  the  door,  weary,  no  doubt, 
of  sullen  looks  and  silence,  came 
leaping  and  barking  about  us  at 
John's  cheery  invitation,  in  a  joy, 
as  it  would  appear,  to  meet  any 
one  with  a  spark  of  life  and 
friendliness. 

Argile  was  in  his  bed-chamber 
and  between  blankets,  in  the  hands 
of  his  physician,  who  had  been 
bleeding  him.  He  had  a  minister 
for  mind  and  body,  for  Gordon  was 
with  him  too,  and  stayed  with  him 
during  our  visit,  though  the  chir- 
urgeon  left  the  room  with  a  word 
of  caution  to  his  patient  not  to 
excite  himself. 

"Wise  advice,  is  it  not,  gentle- 
men?" said  the  Marquis.  "As  if 
one  stirred  up  his  own  passions 
like  a  dame  waiting  on  a  drunken 
husband.  I  am  glad  to  see  you 
back,  more  especially  as  Master 
Gordon  was  just  telling  me  of  the 
surprise  at  Dalness,  and  the  chance 
that  you  had  been  cut  down  there 
by  the  MacDonalds,  who,  luckily 
for  him  and  Sonachan  and  the 
others,  all  followed  you  in  your 
flight,  and  gave  them  a  chance  of 
an  easy  escape." 

He  shook  hands  with  us  warmly 
enough,  with  fingers  moist  and 
nervous.  A  raised  look  was  in  his 
visage,  his  hair  hung  upon  a  brow 
of  exceeding  pallor.  I  realised  at 
a  half -glance  the  commotion  that 
was  within. 

"  A  drop  of  wine  1 " 

"Thank  you,"  said  I,  "but  I'm 


after  a  glass  in  the  town."  I  was 
yet  to  learn  sorrow  for  this  un- 
happy nobleman  whose  conduct 
had  bittered  me  all  the  way  from 
Lorn. 

MacCailein  scrutinised  me  sharply, 
and  opened  his  lips  as  it  were  to 
say  something,  but  changed  his 
mind,  and  made  a  gesture  towards 
the  bottle,  which  John  Splendid 
speedily  availed  himself  of  with  a 
"  Here's  one  who  has  no  swither 
about  it.  Lord  knows  I've  had 
few  enough  of  life's  comforts  this 
past  week ! " 

Gordon  sat  with  a  Bible  in  his 
hand,  abstracted,  his  eyes  staring 
on  a  window  that  looked  on  the 
branches  of  the  highest  tree  about 
the  castle.  He  had  been  reading 
or  praying  with  his  master  before 
the  physician  had  come  in ;  he  had 
been  doing  his  duty  (I  could  swear 
by  his  stern  jaw),  and  making 
MacCailein  Mor  writhe  to  the  flame 
of  a  conscience  revived.  There 
was  a  constraint  on  the  company 
for  some  minutes,  on  no  one  more 
than  Argile,  who  sat  propped  up 
on  his  bolsters,  and,  fiddling  with 
long  thin  fingers  with  the  fringes 
of  his  coverlet,  looked  every  way 
but  in  the  eyes  of  M'lver  or  myself. 
I  can  swear  John  was  glad  enough 
to  escape  their  glance.  He  was  as 
little  at  ease  as  his  master,  made 
all  the  fuss  he  could  with  his  bottle, 
and  drank  his  wine  with  far  too 
great  a  deliberation  for  a  person 
generally  pretty  brisk  with  the 
beaker. 

"  It's  a  fine  day,"  said  he  at  last, 
breaking  the  silence.  "  The  back 
of  the  winter's  broken  fairly." 
Then  he  started  and  looked  at  me, 
conscious  that  I  might  have  some 
contempt  for  so  frail  an  opening. 

"  Did  you  come  here  to  speak 
about  the  weather  ? "  asked  Mac- 
Cailein, with  a  sour  wearied  smile. 

"No,"  said  M'lver,  ruffling  up 
at  once ;  "I  came  to  ask  when  you 


76 


John  Splendid. 


[July 


are  going  to  take  us  back  the  road 
we  came  1 " 

"To — to — overbye?"  asked  Mac- 
Cailein,  baulking  at  the  name. 

"  Just  so ;  to  Inverlochy,"  an- 
swered M'lver.  "  I  suppose  we 
are  to  give  them  a  call  when  we 
can  muster  enough  men  1 " 

"  Hadn't  we  better  consider  where 
we  are  first  1 "  said  MacCailein. 
Then  he  put  his  fair  hand  through 
his  ruddy  locks  and  sighed.  "  Have 
you  nothing  to  say  (and  be  done 
with  it)  about  my — my — my  part 
in  the  affair?  His  reverence  here 
has  had  his  will  of  me  on  that 
score." 

M'lver  darted  a  look  of  annoy- 
ance at  the  minister,  who  seemed 
to  pay  no  heed,  but  still  to  have 
his  thoughts  far  off. 

"  I  have  really  nothing  to  say, 
your  lordship,  except  that  I'm 
glad  to  see  you  spared  to  us  here 
instead  of  being  left  a  corpse  with 
our  honest  old  kinsman  Auchin- 
breck  (beannachd  leas!)  and  more 
gentry  of  your  clan  and  house  than 
the  Blue  Quarry  will  make  tombs 
for  in  Kilmalieu.  If  the  minister 
has  been  preaching,  it's  his  trade ; 
it's  what  you  pay  him  for.  I'm  no 
homilist,  thank  God,  and  no  man's 
conscience." 

"  No,  no ;  God  knows  you  are 
not,"  said  Argile,  in  a  tone  of  pity 
and  vexation.  "I  think  I  said 
before  that  you  were  the  poorest 
of  consciences  to  a  man  in  a  hesi- 
tancy between  duty  and  inclination. 
.  .  .  And  all  my  guests  have  left 
me,  John  ;  I'm  a  lonely  man  in  my 
castle  of  Inneraora  this  day,  ex- 
cept for  the  prayers  of  a  wife — God 
bless  and  keep  her  ! — who  knows 
and  comprehends  my  spirit.  And 
I  have  one  more  friend  here  in 
this  room " 

"You  can  count  on  John  M'lver 
to  the  yetts  of  Hell,"  said  my 
friend,  "  and  I  am  the  proud  man 
that  vou  should  think  it." 


"  I  am  obliged  to  you  for  that, 
kinsman,"  said  his  lordship  in 
Gaelic,  with  a  by-your-leave  to  the 
cleric.  "But  do  not  give  your 
witless  vanity  a  foolish  airing  be- 
fore my  chaplain."  Then  he  added 
in  the  English,  "When  the  fairy 
was  at  my  cradle-side  and  gave  my 
mother  choice  of  my  gifts,  I  wish 
she  had  chosen  rowth  of  real 
friends.  I  could  be  doing  with 
more  about  me  of  the  quality  I 
mention ;  better  than  horse  and 
foot  would  they  be,  more  trusty 
than  the  claymores  of  my  clan.  It 
might  be  the  slogan  'Cruachan' 
whenever  it  wist,  and  Archibald 
of  Argile  would  be  more  puissant 
than  he  of  Homer's  story.  People 
have  envied  me  when  they  have 
heard  me  called  the  King  of  the 
Highlands  —  fools  that  did  not 
know  I  was  the  poorest,  weakest 
man  of  his  time,  surrounded  by 
flatterers  instead  of  friends.  Gor- 
don, Gordon,  I  am  the  victim  of 
the  Highland  liar,  that  smooth- 
tongued  " 

"Call  it  the  Campbell  liar,"  I 
cried  bitterly,  thinking  of  my 
father.  "Your  clan  has  not  the 
reputation  of  guile  for  nothing, 
and  if  you  refused  straightforward 
honest  outside  counsel  sometimes, 
it  was  not  for  the  want  of  its  offer- 
ing." 

"  I  cry  your  pardon,"  said 
M'Cailein,  meekly;  "I  should  have 
learned  to  discriminate  by  now. 
Blood's  thicker  than  water,  they 
say,  but  it's  not  so  pure  and  trans- 
parent ;  I  have  found  my  blood 
drumly  enough." 

"  And  ready  enough  to  run 
freely  for  you,"  said  M'lver,  but 
half  comprehending  this  perplexed 
mind.  "Your  lordship  should 
be  the  last  to  echo  any  sentiment 
directed  against  the  name  and  fame 
of  Clan  Campbell." 

"  Indeed  they  gave  me  their 
blood  freely  enough — a  thousand 


1898.] 


John  Splendid. 


of  them  lying  yonder  in  the  north 
— I  wish  they  had  been  so  lavish, 
those  closest  about  me,  with  truth 
and  honour.  For  that  I  must  de- 
pend on  an  honest  servant  of  the 
Lord  Jesus  Christ,  the  one  man  in 
my  pay  with  the  courage  to  con- 
front me  with  no  cloaked  speech, 
but  his  naked  thought,  though  it 
should  lash  me  like  whips.  Oh, 
many  a  time  my  wife,  who  is  none 
of  our  race,  warned  me  against  the 
softening  influence,  the  blight  and 
rot  of  this  eternal  air  of  flattery 
that's  round  about  Castle  Inneraora 
like  a  swamp  vapour.  She's  in 
Stirling  to-day' — I  ken  it  in  my 
heart  that  to  -  night  she'll  weep 
upon  her  pillow  because  she'll 
know  fate  has  found  the  weak  link 
in  her  goodman's  armour  again." 

John  Splendid's  brow  came 
down  upon  a  most  perplexed  face  ; 
this  seemed  all  beyond  him,  but 
he  knew  his  master  was  somehow 
blaming  the  world  at  large  for  his 
own  error. 

"Come  now,  John,"  said  his 
lordship,  turning  and  leaning  on 
his  arm  and  looking  curiously  at 
his  kinsman.  "  Come  now,  what 
do  you  think  of  me  here  without  a 
wound  but  at  the  heart,  with 
Auchinbreck  and  all  my  gallant 
fellows  yonder?" 

"  Auchinbreck  was  a  soldier  by 
trade  and  a  good  one  too,"  an- 
swered M'lver,  at  his  usual  trick  of 
prevarication. 

"  And  a  flatterer  like  yourself, 
you  mean,"  said  his  lordship. 
"  He  and  you  learned  the  lesson 
in  the  same  school,  I'm  thinking. 
And  as  ill  luck  had  it,  his  ill  coun- 
sel found  me  on  the  swither,  as 
yours  did  when  Colkitto  came 
down  the  glens  there  to  rape  and 
burn.  That's  the  Devil  for  you ; 
he's  aye  planning  to  have  the 
minute  and  the  man  together. 
Come,  sir,  come,  sir,  what  do  you 
think,  what  do  you  think?" 


He  rose  as  he  spoke  and  put  his 
knees  below  him,  and  leaned  across 
the  bed  with  hands  upon  the  blank- 
ets, staring  his  kinsman  in  the 
face  as  if  he  would  pluck  the  truth 
from  him  out  at  the  very  eyes. 
His  voice  rose  to  an  animal  cry 
with  an  agony  in  it ;  the  sinister 
look  that  did  him  such  injustice 
breathed  across  his  visage.  His 
knuckle  and  collar  -  bones  shone 
blae  through  the  tight  skin. 

"What  do  I  think?"  echoed 
M'lver.  "Well,  now— 

"  On  your  honour  now,"  cried 
Argile,  clawing  him  by  the  shoul- 
der. 

At  that  M'lver's  countenance 
changed :  he  threw  off  his  soft 
complacence,  and  cruelty  and  tem- 
per stiffened  his  jaw. 

"  I'll  soon  give  you  that,  my 
Lord  of  Argile,"  said  he.  "  I  can 
lie  like  a  Dutch  major  for  conveni- 
ence sake,  but  put  me  on  honour 
and  you'll  get  the  truth  if  it  cost 
me  my  life.  Purgatory's  your  por- 
tion, Argile,  for  a  Sunday's  work 
that  makes  our  name  a  mock  to-day 
across  the  envious  world.  Take 
to  your  books  and  your  preachers, 
sir  —  you're  for  the  cloister  and 
not  for  the  field  ;  and  if  I  live  a 
hundred  years,  I'll  deny  I  went 
with  you  to  Inverlochy.  I  left  my 
sword  in  Badenoch,  but  here's  my 
dagger "  (and  he  threw  it  with  a 
clatter  on  the  floor)  ;  "  it's  the  last 
tool  I'll  handle  in  the  service  of  a 
scholar.  To-morrow  the  old  big 
wars  for  me;  Hebron's  troopers 
will  welcome  an  umquhil  comrade, 
and  I'll  find  no  swithering  captains 
among  the  cavaliers  in  France." 

Back  sat  my  lord  in  bed,  and 
laughed  with  a  surrender  shrill  and 
distraught,  until  Master  Gordon 
and  I  calmed  him,  and  there  was  his 
cousin  still  before  him  in  a  passion, 
standing  in  the  middle  of  the  floor. 

"Stop,  stop,  John,"  he  cried; 
"now  that  for  once  I've  got  the 


78 


John  Splendid. 


[July 


truth  from  you,  let  us  be  better 
friends  than  ever  before." 

"Never  the  same  again,"  said 
M'lver,  firmly,  "  never  the  same 
again,  for  you  ken  my  estimate  of 
you  now ;  and  what  avails  my 
courtesy  ? " 

"  Your  flatteries,  you  mean,"  said 
Argile,  good-natured.  "  And,  be- 
sides, you  speak  only  of  my  two 
blunders ;  you  know  my  other  parts, 
— you  know  that  by  nature  I  am 
no  poltroon." 

"  That's  no  credit  to  you,  sir — 
it's  the  strong  blood  of  Diarmaid ; 
there  was  no  poltroon  in  the  race 
but  what  came  in  on  the  wrong 
side  of  the  blanket.  I've  said  it 
first,  and  I'll  say  it  to  the  last, 
your  spirit  is  smoored  among  the 
books.  Paper  and  ink  will  be  the 
Gael's  xindoing  ;  my  mother  taught 
me,  and  my  mother  knew  :  so  long 
as  we  lived  by  our  hands  we  were 
the  world's  invincibles.  Rome  met 
us  and  Rome  tried  us,  and  her  corps 
might  come  in  winter  torrents,  but 
they  never  tore  us  from  our  hills 
and  keeps.  What  Rome  may  never 
do,  that  may  paper  and  sheepskin  ; 
you,  yourself,  MacCailein,  have 
the  name  of  plying  pen  and  ink 
very  well  to  your  own  purpose  in 
the  fingers  of  old  lairds  who  have 
small  skill  of  that  contrivance." 

lie  would  have  passed  on  in  this 
outrageous  strain  without  remission, 
had  not  Gordon  checked  him  with 
a  determined  and  unabashed  voice. 
He  told  him  to  sit  down  in  silence 
or  leave  the  room,  and  asked  him 
to  look  upon  his  master  and  see  if 
that  high  fever  was  a  condition  to 
inflame  in  a  fit  of  temper.  John 
Splendid  cooled  a  little,  and  went 
to  the  window,  looking  down 
with  eyes  of  far  surmise  upon  the 
pleasance  and  the  town  below, 
chewing  his  temper  between  his 
teeth. 

"  You  see,  Elrigmore,  what  a 
happy  King  of  the  Highlands  I 


am,"  said  the  Marquis,  despond- 
ently. "Fortunate  Auchinbreck, 
to  be  all  by  with  it  after  a  moment's 
agony  ! " 

"  He  died  like  a  good  soldier, 
sir,"  I  said ;  "  he  was  by  all  ac- 
counts a  man  of  some  vices,  but 
he  wiped  them  out  in  his  own 
blood." 

"  Are  you  sure  of  that  ?  Is  it 
not  the  old  folly  of  the  code  of 
honour,  the  mad  exaltation  of  mere 
valour  in  arms,  that  makes  you 
think  so?  What  if  he  was  spill- 
ing his  drops  on  the  wrong  side? 
He  was  against  his  king  at  least, 
and — oh,  my  wits,  my  wits,  what 
am  I  saying  ?  .  .  .  I  saw  you  did 
not  drink  my  wine,  Elrigmore  ;  am 
I  so  low  as  that  1 " 

"There  is  no  man  so  low,  my 
lord,"  said  I,  "but  he  may  be 
yet  exalted.  We  are,  the  best  of  us, 
the  instruments  of  a  whimsical  pro- 
vidence "  ("  What  a  rank  doctrine," 
muttered  the  minister),  "  and  Cresar 
himself  was  sometimes  craven  before 
his  portents.  You,  my  lord,  have 
the  one  consolation  left,  that  all's 
not  bye  yet  with  the  cause  you 
champion,  and  you  may  yet  lead  it 
to  the  highest  victory." 

Argile  took  a  grateful  glance  at 
me.  "You  know  what  I  am,"  he 
said,  "not  a  man  of  the  happy, 
single  mood  like  our  friend  Bar- 
breck  here,  but  tossed  between 
philosophies.  I  am  paying  bitterly 
for  my  pliability,  for  who  so  much 
the  sport  of  life  as  the  man  who 
knows  right  well  the  gait  he  should 
gang,  and  prays  fervently  to  be  per- 
mitted to  follow  it,  but  sometimes 
stumbles  in  the  ditch?  Monday, 
oh  Monday ;  I  must  be  at  Edin- 
burgh and  face  them  all !  'Tis  that 
dauntons  me."  His  eyes  seemed  to 
swim  in  blood,  as  he  looked  at  me, 
or  through  me,  aghast  at  the  horror 
of  his  situation,  and  sweat  stood  in 
blobs  upon  his  brow.  "That,  "he 
went  on,  "  weighs  me  down  like 


1898.] 


John  Splendid. 


79 


lead.  Here  about  me  my  people 
know  me,  and  may  palliate  the  mis- 
take of  a  day  by  the  recollection 
of  a  lifetime's  honour.  I  blame 
Auchinbreck ;  I  blame  the  chief- 
tains,— they  said  I  must  take  to  the 
galley ;  I  blame " 

"Blame  no  one,  Argile,"  said 
Master  Gordon,  standing  up  before 
him,  not  a  second  too  soon,  for  he 
had  his  hand  on  the  dirk  M'lver 
had  thrown  down.  Then  he  turned 
to  us  with  ejecting  arms.  "  Out 
you  go,"  he  cried  sternly,  "  out  you 
go ;  what  delight  have  you  in  see- 
ing a  nobleman  on  the  rack  1 " 

As  the  door  closed  behind  us  we 
could  hear  Argile  sob. 

Seventeen  years  later,  if  I  may 
quit  the  thread  of  my  history  and 
take  in  a  piece  that  more  properly 
belongs  to  the  later  adventures  of 
John  Splendid,  I  saw  my  lord  die 
by  the  maiden.  Being  then  in  his 
tail,  I  dined  with  him  and  his 
friends  the  day  before  he  died,  and 
he  spoke  with  exceeding  cheerful- 
ness of  that  hour  M'lver  and  I 
found  him  in  bed  in  Inneraora. 
"You  saw  me  at  my  worst,"  said 
he,  "  on  two  occasions ;  bide  till 
to-morrow  and  you'll  see  me  at  my 
best.  I  never  unmasked  to  mortal 
man  till  that  day  Gordon  put  you 
out  of  my  room."  I  stayed  and 
saw  him  die  ;  I  saw  his  head 
up  and  his  chin  in  the  air  as  be- 
hoved his  quality,  that  day  he 
went  through  that  noisy,  crowded, 
causied  Edinburgh — Edinburgh  of 
the  doleful  memories,  Edinburgh 
whose  ports  I  never  enter  till  this 
day  but  I  feel  a  tickling  at  the  nape 
of  my  neck,  as  where  a  wooden  col- 
lar should  lie  before  the  shear  fall. 

"A  cool  enough  reception  this," 
said  M'lver,  as  we  left  the  gate. 
"It  was  different  last  year,  when 
we  went  up  together  on  your  return 
from  Low  Germanie.  Then  Mac- 
Cailein  was  in  the  need  of  soldiers, 
now  he's?  in  the  need  of  priests, 


who  gloze  over  his  weakness  with 
their  prayers." 

"  You  are  hardly  fair  either  to 
the  one  or  the  other,"  I  said. 
"Argile,  whom  I  went  in  to  meet 
to-day  with  a  poor  regard  for  him, 
turns  out  a  better  man  than  I  gave 
him  credit  for  being;  he  has  at 
least  the  grace  to  grieve  about  a 
great  error  of  judgment,  or  weak- 
ness of  the  spirit,  whichever  it  may 
be.  And  as  for  Master  Gordon, 
I'll  take  off  my  hat  to  him.  Yen's 
no  type  of  the  sour,  dour,  anti- 
prelatics ;  he  comes  closer  on  the 
perfect  man  and  soldier  than  any 
man  I  ever  met." 

M'lver  looked  at  me  with  a  sign 
of  injured  vanity. 

"You're  not  very  fastidious  in 
your  choice  of  comparisons,"  said 
he.  "  As  for  myself,  I  cannot  see 
much  more  in  Gordon  than  what 
he  is  paid  for  —  a  habit  of  even 
temper,  more  truthfulness  than  I 
have  myself,  and  that's  a  dubious 
virtue,  for  see  the  impoliteness 
that's  always  in  its  train  !  Add 
to  that  a  lack  of  any  clannish  re- 
gard for  MacCailein  Mor,  whom  he 
treats  just  like  a  common  merchant, 
and  that's  all.  Just  a  plain,  stout, 
fozy,  sappy  burrow-man,  keeping  a 
gospel  shop,  with  scarcely  so  much 
of  a  man's  parts  as  will  let  him  fend 
a  blow  in  the  face.  I  could  march 
four  miles  for  his  one,  and  learn 
him  the  A  B  ab  of  every  manly 
art." 

"I  like  you  fine,  man,"  I  cried  ; 
"  I  would  sooner  go  tramping  the 
glens  with  you  any  day  than  Master 
Gordon;  but  that's  a  weakness  of 
the  imperfect  and  carnal  man,  that 
cares  not  to  have  a  conscience  at 
his  coat-tail  every  hour  of  the  day  : 
you  have  your  own  parts  and  he 
his,  and  his  parts  are  those  that  are 
not  very  common  on  our  side  of  the 
country — more's  the  pity." 

M'lver  was  too  busy  for  a  time 
upon  the  sudden  rupture  with  Ar- 


80 


John  Splendid. 


[July 


gile  to  pay  very  much  heed  to  iny  de- 
fence of  Master  Gordon.  The  quarrel 
— to  call  that  a  quarrel  in  which 
one  man  had  all  the  bad  temper  and 
the  other  nothing  but  self-reproach 
— had  soured  him  of  a  sudden  as 
thunder  turns  the  morning's  cream 
to  curd  before  noon.  And  his 
•whole  demeanour  revealed  a  totally 
new  man.  In  his  ordinary  John 
was  very  pernicketty  about  his 
clothing,  always  with  the  most 
shining  of  buckles  and  buttons, 
always  trim  in  plaiding,  suod  and 
spruce  about  his  hair  and  his  hosen, 
a  real  dandy  who  never  overdid  the 
part,  but  just  contrived  to  be  pleas- 
ant to  the  eye  of  women,  who,  in 
my  observation,  have,  the  most  sen- 
sible of  them,  as  great  a  contempt 
for  the  mere  fop  as  they  have  for 
the  sloven.  It  took,  indeed,  trim- 
ness  of  apparel  to  make  up  for  the 
plainness  of  his  face.  Not  that  he 
was  ugly  or  harsh -favoured,  —  he 
was  too  genial  for  either ;  he  was 
simply  well-favoured  enough  to  pass 
in  a  fair,  as  the  saying  goes,  which 
is  a  midway  between  Apollo  and 
plain  Donald.  But  what  with  a 
jacket  and  vest  all  creased  for  the 
most  apparent  reasons,  a  plaid  frayed 
to  ribbons  in  dashing  through  the 
wood  of  Dalness,  brogues  burst  at 
the  toes,  and  a  bonnet  soaked  all 
out  of  semblance  to  itself  by  rains, 
he  appeared  more  common.  The 
black  temper  of  him  transformed 
his  face  too  :  it  lost  the  geniality 
that  was  its  main  charm,  and  out 
of  his  eyes  flamed  a  most  wicked, 
cunning,  cruel  fellow. 

He  went  down  the  way  from  the 
castle  brig  to  the  arches  cursing 
with  great  eloquence.  A  soldier 
picks  up  many  tricks  of  blasphemy 
in  a  career  about  the  world  with 
foreign  legions,  and  John  had  the 
reddings  of  three  or  four  languages 
at  his  command,  so  that  he  had  no 
need  to  repeat  himself  much  in  his 
choice  of  terms  about  his  chief.  To 


do  him  justice,  he   had  plenty  of 
condemnation  for  himself  too. 

"Well,"  said  I,  "you  were  in- 
clined to  be  calm  enough  with 
MacCailein  when  first  we  entered 
his  room.  I  suppose  all  this  up- 
roar is  over  his  charge  of  flattery, 
not  against  yourself  alone  but 
against  all  the  people  about." 

"  That's  just  the  thing,"  he  cried, 
turning  round  and  throwing  his 
arms  furiously  about.  "Could  he 
not  have  charged  the  clan  generally, 
and  let  who  would  put  the  cap  on  ? 
If  yon's  the  policy  of  Courts,  heaven 
help  princes ! " 

"And  yet  you  were  very  smug 
when  you  entered,"  I  protested. 

"Was  I  that?"  he  retorted. 
"  That's  easy  to  account  for.  Did 
you  ever  feel  like  arguing  with  a 
gentleman  when  you  had  on  your 
second-best  clothes  and  no  ruffle  ? 
The  man  was  in  his  bed,  and  his 
position  as  he  cocked  up  there  on 
his  knees  was  not  the  most  digni- 
fied I  have  seen ;  but  even  then  he 
had  the  best  of  it,  for  I  felt  like  a 
beggar  before  him  in  my  shabby 
duds.  Oh,  he  had  the  best  of  us 
all  there.  You  saw  Gordon  had 
the  sense  to  put  on  a  new  surtout 
and  clean  linen  and  a  freshly  dressed 
peruke  before  he  saw  him ;  I  think 
he  would  scarcely  have  been  so  bold 
before  Argile  if  he  had  his  breek- 
bands  a  finger-length  below  his  belt, 
and  his  wig  on  the  nape  of  his  neck 
as  we  saw  him  in  Glencoe." 

"Anyhow,"  said  I,  "you  have 
cut  the  connection  ;  are  you  really 
going  abroad  1 " 

He  paused  a  second  in  thought, 
smiled  a  little,  and  then  laughed 
as  if  he  had  seen  something 
humorous. 

"Man,"  said  he,  "didn't  I  do 
the  dirk  trick  with  a  fine  touch 
of  nobility  ?  Maybe  you  thought 
it  was  done  on  the  impulse  and 
without  any  calculation.  The  truth 
was,  I  played  the  whole  thing  over 


1898.] 


Johit,  Splendid. 


81 


in  my  mind  while  he  was  in  the 
preliminaries  of  his  discourse.  I 
saw  he  was  working  up  to  an 
attack,  and  I  knew  I  could  sur- 
prise him.  But  I  must  confess 
I  said  more  than  I  intended. 
When  I  spoke  of  the  big  wars  and 
Hebron's  troopers  —  well,  Argile's 
a  very  nice  shire  to  be  living  in." 

"  What,  was  it  all  play-acting 
then?" 

He  looked  at  me  and  shrugged 
his  shoulders. 

"  You  must  be  a  singularly  sim- 
ple man,  Elrigmore,"  he  said,  "  to 
ask  that  of  any  one.  Are  we  not 
play-acting  half  our  lives  once  we 
get  a  little  beyond  the  stage  of  the 
ploughman  and  the  herd?  Half 
our  tears  and  half  our  laughter 
and  the  great  bulk  of  our  virtues 
are  like  your  way  of  cocking  your 
bonnet  over  your  right  ear ;  it  does 
not  come  by  nature,  and  it  is  done 


to  pleasure  the  world  in  general. 
Play  -  acting  !  I'll  tell  you  this, 
Colin,  I  could  scarcely  say  myself 
when  a  passion  of  mine  is  real  or 
fancied  now.  But  I  can  tell  you 
this  too ;  if  I  began  in  play  to 
revile  the  Marquis,  I  ended  in  ear- 
nest. I'm  afraid  it's  all  bye  with 
me  yonder.  No  more  mine-manag- 
ing for  me  •  I  struck  too  close  on 
the  marrow  for  him  to  forget  it." 

"  He  has  forgotten  and  forgiven 
it  already,"  I  cried.  "At  least,  let 
us  hope  he  has  not  forgotten  it  (for 
you  said  no  more  than  was  perhaps 
deserved),  but  at  least  it's  forgiven. 
If  you  said  to-morrow  that  you  were 
sorry  for  your  temper " 

"  Said  ten  thousand  fiends  in 
Hell  !  "  cried  M'lver.  "  I  may  be 
vexed  I  angered  the  man ;  but  I'll 
never  let  him  know  it  by  my  words, 
if  he  cannot  make  it  out  from  my 
acts." 


CHAPTER    XXXI. MISTIIKSS    BETTY. 


I  dressed  myself  up  in  the  morn- 
ing with  scrupulous  care,  put  my 
hair  in  a  queue,  shaved  cheek  and 
chin,  and  put  at  my  shoulder  the 
old  heirloom  brooch  of  the  house, 
which,  with  some  other  property, 
the  invaders  had  not  found  below 
the  l>i"uach  where  we  had  hid  it  on 
the  day  we  had  left  Elrigmore  to 
their  mercy.  I  was  all  in  a  tremor 
of  expectation,  hot  and  cold  by 
turns  in  hope  and  apprehension, 
but  always  with  a  singular  uplift- 
ing at  the  heart,  because  for  good 
or  ill  I  was  sure  to  meet  in  the 
next  hour  or  two  the  one  person 
whose  presence  in  Inneraora  made 
it  the  finest  town  in  the  world. 
Some  men  tell  me  they  have  felt 
the  experience  more  than  once ; 
light  o'  loves  they,  errant  gallants, 
I'll  swear  (my  dear)  the  tingle  of 
it  came  to  but  once  at  the  thought 
of  meeting  one  woman.  Had  she 

VOL.  CLXIV. — NO.  DCCCCXCIII. 


been  absent  from  Inneraora  that 
morning  I  would  have  avoided  it 
like  a  leper  -  house  because  of  its 
gloomy  memorials ;  but  the  very 
reek  of  its  repairing  tenements  as 
I  saw  them  from,  the  upper  windows 
of  my  home  floating  in  a  haze 
against  the  blue  over  the  shoulder 
of  Dun  Torvil  seemed  to  call  me 
on.  I  went  about  the  empty 
chambers  carolling  like  the  bird. 
Aumrie  and  clothes  -  press  were 
burst  and  vacant,  the  rooms  in  all 
details  were  bereft  and  cheerless 
because  of  the  plenishing  stolen, 
and  my  father  sat  among  his  losses 
and  mourned,  but  I  made  light  of 
our  spoiling. 

As  if  to  heighten  the  rapture  of 
my  mood,  the  day  was  full  of  sun- 
shine, and  though  the  woods  crowd- 
ing the  upper  glen  were  leafless  and 
slumbering,  they  were  touched  to 
something  like  autumn's  gold. 


82 


John  Splendid. 


[July 


Some  people  love  the  country  but 
in  the  time  of  leafage ;  I  find  it 
laden  with  delights  in  every  season 
of  the  year,  and  the  end  of  winter 
as  cheery  a  period  as  any,  for  I 
know  that  the  buds  are  pressing 
at  the  bark,  and  that  the  boughs 
in  rumours  of  wind  stretch  out  like 
the  arms  of  the  sleeper  who  will 
soon  be  full  awake. 

Down  I  went  stepping  to  a  merry 
lilt,  banishing  every  fear  from  my 
thoughts,  and  the  first  call  I  made 
was  on  the  Provost.  He  was  over 
in  Askaig's  with  his  wife  and  family 
pending  the  repair  of  his  own 
house,  and  Askaig  was  off  to  his 
estate.  Master  Brown  sat  on  the 
balusters  of  the  outer  stair,  dang- 
ling his  squat  legs  and  studying 
through  horn  specs  the  tale  of  thig 
and  theft  which  the  town  officer 
had  made  up  a  report  on.  As  I  put 
my  foot  on  the  bottom  step  he 
looked  up,  and  his  welcome  was 
most  friendly. 

"Colin !  Colin  !  "  he  cried,  hasten- 
ing down  to  shake  me  by  the  hand, 
"  come  your  ways  in.  I  heard  you 
got  home  yesterday,  and  I  was  sure 
you  would  give  us  a  call  in  the  by- 
going  to-day.  And  you're  little  the 
waur  of  your  jaunt  —  hale  and 
hearty.  We  ken  all  about  your 
prisoning ;  M'lver  was  in  last 
night  and  kept  the  crack  going  till 
morning — a  most  humorous  devil." 

He  pinched  rapee  as  he  spoke  in 
rapid  doses  from  a  snuff-box,  and 
spread  the  brown  powder  in  ex- 
travagant carelessness  over  his  vest. 
He  might  affect  what  light-hearted- 
ness  he  could ;  I  saw  that  the  past 
fortnight  had  made  a  difference  for 
the  worse  on  him.  The  pouches 
below  the  eyes  had  got  heavier  and 
darker,  the  lines  had  deepened  on 
his  brow,  the  ruddy  polish  had 
gone  off  his  cheek,  and  it  was  dull 
and  spotted ;  by  ten  o'clock  at 
night — when  he  used  to  be  very 
jovial  over  a  glass — I  could  tell  he 


would  be  haggard  and  yawning. 
At  his  years  men  begin  to  age  in 
a  few  hours ;  a  sudden  wrench  to 
the  affections,  or  shock  to  a  long- 
disciplined  order  of  things  in  their 
lives,  will  send  them  staggering 
down  off  the  braehead  whereon 
they  have  been  perched  with  a 
good  balance  so  long  that  they 
themselves  have  forgot  the  natural 
course  of  human  man  is  to  be  pro- 
gressing somewhere. 

"  Ah,  lad,  lad  !  haven't  we  the 
times  1 "  he  said,  as  he  led  me 
within  to  the  parlour.  "  Inneraora 
in  the  stour  in  her  reputation  as 
well  as  in  her  tenements.  I  wish 
the  one  could  be  amended  as  readily 
as  the  other;  but  we  mustn't  be 
saying  a  word  against  princes,  ye 
ken,"  he  went  on  in  the  discreet 
whisper  of  the  conspirator.  "  You 
were  up  and  saw  him  last  night, 
I'm  hearing.  To-day  they  tell  me 
he's  himself  again,  and  coming  down 
to  a  session  meeting  at  noon.  I 
must  put  myself  in  his  way  to  say 
a  friendly  word  or  two.  Ah ! 
you're  laughing  at  us.  I  under- 
stand, man,  I  understand.  You 
travellers  need  not  practise  the  art 
of  civility  ;  but  we're  too  close  on 
the  castle  here  to  be  out  of  favour 
with  MacCailein  Mor.  Draw  in 
your  chair,  and  —  Mary,  Mary, 
goodwife  !  bring  in  the  bottle  with 
you  and  see  young  Elrigmore." 

In  came  the  goodwife  with  even 
greater  signs  of  trouble  than  her 
husband,  but  all  in  a  flurry  of 
good  -  humoured  welcome.  They 
sat,  the  pair  of  them,  before  me  in 
a  little  room  poorly  lit  by  a  narrow 
window  but  half-glazed,  because  a 
lower  portion  of  it  had  been  de- 
stroyed in  the  occupation  of  the 
Irish,  and  had  to  be  timbered  up 
to  keep  the  wind  outside.  A  douce 
pathetic  pair;  I  let  my  thoughts 
stray  a  little  even  from  their 
daughter  as  I  looked  on  them,  and 
pondered  on  the  tragedy  of  age 


1898.] 


John  Splendid. 


83 


that  is  almost  as  cruel  as  war,  but 
for  the  love  that  set  Provost  Brown 
with  his  chair  haffit  close  against 
his  wife's,  so  that  less  noticeably 
he  might  take  her  hand  in  his  be- 
low the  table  and  renew  the  glow 
that  first  they  learned,  no  doubt, 
when  lad  and  lass  awandering  in 
summer  days,  oh  long  ago,  in  Eas- 
a-chosain  glen. 

They  plied  me  with  a  hundred 
questions,  of  my  adventures,  and 
of  my  father,  and  of  affairs  up  in 
Shira  Glen.  I  sat  answering  very 
often  at  hazard,  with  my  mind 
fixed  on  the  one  question  I  had  to 
ask,  which  was  a  simple  one  as  to 
the  whereabouts  and  condition  of 
their  daughter.  But  I  leave  to  any 
lad  of  a  shrinking  and  sensitive 
nature  if  this  was  not  a  task  of 
exceeding  difficulty.  For  you  must 
remember  that  here  were  two  very 
sharp  -  eyed  parents,  one  of  them 
with  a  gift  of  irony  discomposing 
to  a  lover,  and  the  other  or  both 
perhaps,  with  no  reason,  so  far  as 
I  knew,  to  think  I  had  any  special 
feeling  for  the  girl.  But  I  knew 
as  well  as  if  I  had  gone  over  the 
thing  a  score  of  times  before,  how 
my  manner  of  putting  that  simple 
question  would  reveal  me  at  a  flash 
to  the  irony  of  the  father  arid  the 
wonder  of  the  mother.  And  in 
any  case  they  gave  me  not  the  small- 
est chance  of  putting  it.  As  they 
plied  me  with  affairs  a  thousand 
miles  beyond  the  limits  of  my  im- 
mediate interest,  and  I  answered 
them  with  a  brevity  almost  discour- 
teous, I  was  practising  two  or  three 
phrases  in  my  mind. 

"And  how  is  your  daughter, 
sir?"  might  seem  simple  enough, 
but  it  would  be  too  cold  for  an 
inquirer  to  whom  hitherto  she  had 
always  been  Betty;  while  to  ask 
for  Betty  outright  would — a  start- 
ling new  spring  of  delicacy  in  my 
nature  told  me — be  to  use  a  friendly 
warmth  only  the  most  cordial  rela- 


tions with  the  girl  would  warrant. 
No  matter  how  I  mooted  the  lady, 
I  knew  something  in  my  voice  and 
the  very  flush  in  my  face  would 
reveal  my  secret.  My  position 
grew  more  pitiful  every  moment, 
for  to  the  charge  of  cowardice  I 
levelled  first  at  myself  for  my  back- 
wardness, there  was  the  charge  of 
discourtesy.  What  could  they  think 
of  my  breeding  that  I  had  not  men- 
tioned their  daughter  ?  What  could 
I  think  from,  their  silence  regarding 
her  but  that  they  were  vexed  at 
my  indifference  to  her,  and  with 
the  usual  Highland  pride  were 
determined  not  even  to  mention 
her  name  till  she  was  asked  for. 
Upon  my  word,  I  was  in  a  trouble 
more  distressing  than  when  I  sat 
in  the  mist  in  the  Moor  of  lian- 
noch  and  confessed  myself  lost !  I 
thought  for  a  little,  in  a  momentary 
wave  of  courage,  of  leading  the 
conversation  in  her  direction  by 
harking  back  to  the  day  when  the 
town  was  abandoned,  and  she  took 
flight  with  the  child  into  the 
woods.  Still  the  Provost,  now 
doing  all  the  talking,  while  his  wife 
knit  hose,  would  ever  turn  a  hun- 
dred by-ways  from  the  main  road 
I  sought  to  lead  him  on. 

By-and-by,  when  the  crack  had 
drifted  hopelessly  away  from  all 
connection  with  Mistress  Betty, 
there  was  a  woman's  step  on  the 
stair.  My  face  became  as  hot  as 
fire  at  the  sound,  and  I  leaned  eagerly 
forward  in  my  chair  before  I  thought 
of  the  transparency  of  the  move- 
ment. 

The  Provost's  eyes  closed  to  little 
slits  in  his  face  ;  the  corner  of  his 
mouth  curled  in  amusement. 

"  Here's  Peggy  back  from  Bailie 
Campbell's,"  he  said  to  his  wife, 
and  I  was  convinced  he  did  so  to 
let  me  know  the  new-comer,  who  was 
now  moving  about  in  the  kitchen 
across  the  lobby,  was  not  the  one  I 
had  expected.  My  disappointment 


84 


John  Splendid. 


[July 


must  have  shown  in  my  face  ;  I  felt 
I  was  wasting  moments  the  most 
precious,  though  it  was  something  to 
be  under  the  same  roof  as  my  lady's 
relatives,  under  the  same  roof  as 
she  had  slept  below  last  night,  and 
to  see  some  of  her  actual  self  al- 
most, in  the  smiles  and  eyes  and 
turns  of  the  voice  of  her  mother. 
I  stood  up  to  go,  slyly  casting  an 
eye  about  the  chamber  for  the  poor 
comfort  of  seeing  so  little  as  a 
ribbon  or  a  shoe  that  was  hers,  but 
even  that  was  denied  me.  The 
Provost,  who,  I'll  swear  now,  knew 
my  trouble  from  the  outset,  though 
his  wife  was  blind  to  it,  felt  at  last 
constrained  to  relieve  it. 

"  And  you  must  be  going,"  he 
said ;  "I  wish  you  could  have  wait- 
ed to  see  Betty,  who's  on  a  visit 
to  Caiiunnan  and  should  be  home 
by  now." 

As  he  said  it,  he  was  tapping  his 
snuff-mull  and  looking  at  me  pawkily 
out  of  the  corners  of  his  eyes,  that 
hovered  between  me  and  his  wife, 
who  stood  with  the  wool  in  her 
hand,  beaming  mildly  up  in  my 
face.  I  half  turned  on  my  heel 
and  set  a  restless  gaze  on  the  corner 
of  the  room.  For  many  considera- 
tions were  in  his  simple  words. 
That  he  should  say  them  at  all  re- 
lieved the  tension  of  my  wonder; 
that  he  should  say  them  in  the 
way  he  did,  was,  in  a  manner,  a 
manifestation  that  he  guessed  the 
real  state  of  my  feelings  to  the 
lady  whose  very  name  I  had  not 
dared  to  mention  to  him,  and  that 
he  was  ready  to  favour  any  suit  I 
pressed.  I  was  even  inclined  to 
push  my  reading  of  his  remark  fur- 
ther, and  say  to  myself  that  if  he 
had  not  known  the  lady  herself 
favoured  me,  he  would  never  have 
fanned  my  hope  by  even  so  little 
as  an  indifferent  sentence. 

"  And  how  is  she  —  how  is 
Betty?"  I  asked,  lamely. 

He  laughed  with  a  pleasing  sly- 


ness, and  gave  me  a  duiit  with  his 
elbow  on  the  side,  a  bit  of  the  faun, 
a  bit  of  the  father,  a  bit  of  my 
father's  friend. 

"You're  too  blate,  Colin,"  he 
said,  and  then  he  put  his  arm 
through  his  wife's  and  gave  her  a 
squeeze  to  take  her  into  his  joke. 
I  would  have  laughed  at  the  humour 
of  it  but  for  the  surprise  in  the 
good  woman's  face.  It  fair  startled 
me,  and  yet  it  was  no  more  than 
the  look  of  a  woman  who  learns 
that  her  man  and  she  have  been 
close  company  with  a  secret  for 
months,  and  she  had  never  made 
its  acquaintance.  There  was  per- 
haps a  little  more,  a  hesitancy  in 
the  utterance,  a  flush,  a  tone  that 
seemed  to  show  the  subject  was 
one  to  be  passed  bye  as  fast  as 
possible. 

She  smiled  feebly  a  little,  picked 
up  a  row  of  dropped  stitches,  and 
"Oh,  Betty,"  said  she,  "Betty- 
is — is — she'll  be  back  in  a  little. 
Will  you  not  wait?" 

"  No,  I  must  be  going,"  I  said ; 
"  I  may  have  the  happiness  of 
meeting  her  before  I  go  up  the 
glen  in  the  afternoon." 

They  pressed  me  both  to  stay, 
but  I  seemed,  in  my  mind,  to  have 
a  new  demand  upon  me  for  an  im- 
mediate and  private  meeting  with 
the  girl ;  she  must  be  seen  alone, 
and  not  in  presence  of  the  old  couple, 
who  would  give  my  natural  shyness 
in  her  company  far  more  gawkiness 
than  it  might  have  if  I  met  her 
alone. 

I  went  out  and  went  down  the 
stair,  and  along  the  front  of  the 
land,  my  being  in  a  tumult,  yet 
with  my  observation  keen  to  every- 
thing, no  matter  how  trivial,  that 
happened  around  me.  The  sea-gulls, 
that  make  the  town  the  playground 
of  their  stormy  holidays,  swept  and 
curved  among  the  pigeons  in  the 
gutter  and  quarrelled  over  the  spoils ; 
tossed  in  the  air  wind-blown,  then 


1898.] 


John  Splendid, 


85 


dropped  with  feet  outstretched  upon 
the  black  joists  and  window-sills. 
Fowls  of  the  midden,  new  "brought 
from  other  parts  to  make  up  the 
place  of  those  that  had  gone  to  the 
kail -pots  of  Antrim  and  Athole, 
stalked  about  with  heads  high,  for- 
eign to  this  causied  and  gravelled 
country,  clucking  eagerly  for  meat. 
I  made  my  way  amid  the  bird  of 
the  sea  and  the  bird  of  the  wood 
and  common  bird  of  the  yard  with 
a  divided  mind,  seeing  them  with 
the  eye  for  future  recollection,  but 
seeing  them  not.  Peats  were  at 
every  close  -  mouth,  at  every  door 
almost  that  was  half-habitable,  and 
fuel  cut  from  the  wood,  and  all 
about  the  thoroughfare  was  em- 
barrassed. 

I  had  a  different  decision  at  every 
step,  now  to  seek  the  girl,  now  to 
go  home,  now  finding  the  most 
heartening  hints  in  the  agitation  of 
the  parents,  anon  troubled  exceed- 
ingly with  the  reflection  that  there 
was  something  of  an  unfavourable 
nature  in  the  demeanour  of  her 
mother,  however  much  the  father's 
badinage  might  sooth  my  vanity. 

I  had  made  up  my  mind  for  the 
twentieth  time  to  go  the  length  of 
Carlunnan  and  face  her  plump  and 
plain,  when  behold  she  came  sud- 
denly round  the  corner  at  the  Malt- 
land  where  the  surviving  Lowland 
troops  were  gathered  !  M'lver  was 
with  her,  and  my  resolution  shriv- 
elled and  shook  within  me  like  an 
old  nut  kernel.  I  would  have 
turned  but  for  the  stupidity  and 
ill-breeding  such  a  movement  would 
evidence,  yet  as  I  held  on  my  way 
at  a  slower  pace  and  the  pair  ap- 
proached, I  felt  every  limb  an  en- 
cumbrance, I  felt  the  country  lout 
throbbing  in  every  vein. 

Betty  almost  ran  to  meet  me  as 
we  came  closer  together,  with 
an  agreeableness  that  might  have 
pleased  me  more  had  I  not  the 
certainty  that  she  would  have  been 


as  warm  to  either  of  the  two  men 
who  had  rescued  her  from  her  hid- 
ing in  the  wood  of  Strongara, 
and  had  just  come  back  from  her 
country's  battles  with  however  small 
credit  to  themselves  in  the  result. 
She  was  in  a  very  happy  mood,  for, 
like  all  women,  she  could  readily 
forget  the  large  and  general  vexa- 
tion of  a  reverse  to  her  people  in 
war  if  the  immediate  prospect  was 
not  unpleasant  and  things  around 
were  showing  improvement.  Her 
eyes  shone  and  sparkled,  the  ordi- 
nary sedate  flow  of  her  words  was 
varied  by  little  outbursts  of  gaiety. 
She  had  been  visiting  the  child  at 
Carlunnan,  where  it  had  been  adopt- 
ed by  her  kinswoman,  who  made 
a  better  guardian  than  it's  grand- 
mother, who  died  on  her  way  to 
Dunbarton. 

"What  sets  you  on  this  road," 
she  asked  blandly. 

"  Oh,  you  have  often  seen  me  on 
this  road  before,"  I  said,  boldly  and 
with  meaning.  Ere  I  went  wan- 
dering we  had  heard  the  rivers  sing 
many  a  time,  and  sat  upon  its  banks 
and  little  thought  life  and  time  were 
passing  as  quickly  as  the  leaf  or 
bubble  on  the  surface.  She  flushed 
ever  so  little  at  the  remembrance, 
and  threw  a  stray  curl  back  from 
her  temples  with  an  impatient  toss 
of  her  fingers. 

"  And  so  much  of  the  dandy 
too  ! "  put  in  M'lver,  himself  per- 
jink  enough  about  his  apparel. 
"Ill  wager  there's  a  girl  in  the 
business."  He  laughed  low,  looked 
from  one  to  the  other  of  us,  yet  his 
meaning  escaped,  or  seemed  to  es- 
cape, the  lady. 

"Elrigmore  is  none  of  the  kind," 
she  said,  as  if  to  protect  a  child. 
"  He  has  too  many  serious  affairs  of 
life  in  hand  to  be  in  the  humour 
for  gallivanting." 

This  extraordinary  reading  of  my 
character  by  the  one  woman  who 
ought  to  have  known  it  better,  if 


86 


John  Splendid, 


[July 


only  by  an  instinct,  threw  me  into  a 
blend  of  confusion  and  cbagrin.  I 
had  no  answer  for  her.  I  regretted 
now  that  my  evil  star  had  sent  me 
up  Glenaora,  or  that  having  met 
her  with  M'lver,  whose  presence 
increased  my  diffidence,  I  had  not 
pretended  some  errand  or  business 
up  among  the  farm-lands  in  the 
Salachry  hills,  where  distant  re- 
latives of  our  house  were  often 
found.  But  noAV  I  was  on  one 
side  of  the  lady  and  M'lver  on 
the  other,  on  our  way  towards  the 
burgh,  and  the  convoy  must  be 
concluded,  even  if  I  were  dumb  all 
the  way.  Dumb,  indeed,  I  was  in- 
clined to  be.  M'lver  laughed  up- 
roariously at  madame's  notion  that 
I  was  too  seriously  engaged  with 
life  for  the  recreation  of  love-mak- 
ing; it  was  bound  to  please  him, 
coming,  as  it  did,  so  close  on  his 
own  estimate  of  me  as  the  Sober- 
sides he  christened  me  at  almost 
our  first  acquaintance.  But  he  had 
a  generous  enough  notion  to  give 
me  the  chance  of  being  alone  with 
the  girl  he  knew  very  well  my 
feelings  for. 

"  I've  been  up  just  now  at  the 
camp,"  he  said,  "anent  the  purchase 
of  a  troop-horse,  and  I  had  not  con- 
cluded my  bargain  when  Mistress 
Brown  passed.  I'm  your  true 
caballero  in  one  respect,  that  I 
must  be  offering  every  handsome 
passenger  an  escort ;  but  this  time 
it's  an  office  for  Elrigmore,  who  can 
undertake  your  company  down  the 
way  bravely  enough,  I'll  swear,  for 
all  his  blateness." 

Betty  halted,  as  did  the  other  two 
of  us,  and  bantered  my  comrade. 

"I  ask  your  pardon  a  thousand 
times,  Barbreck,"  she  said ;  "  I 
thought  you  were  hurrying  on  your 
way  down  behind  me,  and  came 
upon  me  before  you  saw  who  I  was." 
"That  was  the  story,"  said  he, 
coolly ;  "  I'm  too  old  a  hand  at  the 
business  to  be  set  back  on  the  road 


I  came  by  a  lady  who  has  no  relish 
for  my  company." 

"  I  would  not  take  you  away  from 
your  marketing  for  the  world,"  she 
proceeded.  "  Perhaps  Elrigmore 
may  be  inclined  to  go  up  to  the 
camp  too  •  he  may  help  you  to  the 
pick  of  your  horse — and  we'll  be- 
lieve you  the  soldier  of  fortune 
again  when  we  see  you  one." 

She,  at  least,  had  no  belief  that 
the  mine-manager  was  to  be  a  mer- 
cenary again.  She  tapped  with  a 
tiny  toe  on  the  pebbles,  affecting  a 
choler  the  twinkle  in  her  eyes  did 
not  homologate.  It  was  enough 
for  M'lver,  who  gave  a  "  Pshaw," 
and  concluded  he  might  as  well,  as 
he  said,  "  be  in  good  company  so 
long  as  he  had  the  chance,"  and 
down  the  way  again  we  went.  Some- 
how the  check  had  put  him  on  his 
mettle.  He  seemed  to  lose  at  once 
all  regard  for  my  interests  in  this. 
I  became,  in  truth,  more  frequently 
than  was  palatable,  the  butt  of  his 
little  pleasantries ;  my  mysterious 
saunter  up  that  glen,  my  sobriety 
of  demeanour,  my  now  silence — all 
those  things,  whose  meaning  he 
knew  very  well,  were  made  the 
text  for  his  amusement  for  the  lady. 
As  for  me,  I  met  it  all  weakly, 
striving  to  meet  his  wit  with  care- 
less smiles. 

For  the  first  time,  I  was  seized 
with  a  jealousy  of  him.  Here  was 
I,  your  arrant  rustic;  he  was  as 
composed  as  could  be,  overflowing 
with  happy  thoughts,  laughable  in- 
cident, and  ever  ready  with  the 
compliment  or  the  retort  women 
love  to  hear  from  a  smart  fellow  of 
even  indifferent  character.  He  had 
the  policy  to  conceal  the  vanity  that 
was  for  ordinary  his  most  trans- 
parent feature,  and  his  trick  was  to 
admire  the  valour  and  the  humour 
of  others.  Our  wanderings  in  Lorn 
and  Lochaber,  our  adventures  with 
the  MacDonalds,  all  the  story  of  the 
expedition,  he  danced  through,  as 


1898.] 


John  Splendid. 


87 


it  were,  on  the  tip -toe  of  light 
phrase,  as  if  it  had  been  a  strong 
man's  scheme  of  recreation,  scarcely 
once  appealing  to  me.  With  a 
flushed  cheek  and  parted  lips  the 
lady  hung  upon  his  words,  arched 
her  dark  eyebrows  in  fear,  or 
bubbled  into  the  merriest  laughter 
as  the  occasion  demanded.  Worst 
of  all,  she  seemed  to  share  his 
amusement  at  my  silence,  and  then 
I  could  have  wished  rather  than  a 
bag  of  gold  I  had  the  Mull  witch's 
invisible  coat,  or  that  the  earth 
would  swallow  me  up.  The  very 
country-people  passing  on  the  way 
were  art  and  part  in  the  conspiracy 
of  circumstances  to  make  me  un- 
happy. Their  salutes  were  rarely 
for  Elripmore,  but  for  the  lady  and 
John  Splendid,  whose  bold  quarrel 
with  MacCailein  Mor  was  now  the 
rumour  of  two  parishes,  and  gave 
him  a  wide  name  for  unflinching 
bravery  of  a  kind  he  had  been  gen- 
erally acknowledged  as  sadly  want- 
ing in  before.  And  Mistress  Betty 
could  not  but  see  that  high  or  low, 
I  was  second  to  this  fellow  going 
off — or  at  least  with  the  rumour  of 
it — to  Hebron's  cavaliers  in  France 
before  the  week-end. 

M'lver  was  just,  perhaps,  carry- 
ing his  humour  at  my  cost  a  little 
too  far  for  my  temper,  which  was 
never  readily  stirred,  but  flamed 
fast  enough  when  set  properly  alowe, 
and  Betty — here  too  your  true  wo- 
man wit — saw  it  sooner  than  he  did 
himself,  quick  enough  in  the  up- 
take though  he  was.  He  had  re- 
turned again  to  his  banter  about 
the  supposititious  girl  I  was  trysted 
with  up  the  glen,  and  my  face 
showed  my  annoyance. 

"  You  think  all  men  like  your- 
self," said  the  girl  to  him,  "  and  all 
women  the  same — like  the  common 
soldier  you  are." 

"  I  think  them  all  darlings,"  he 
confessed,  laughing ;  "  God  bless 
them,  kind  and  foolish " 


"  As  you've  known  them  often- 
est,"  she  supplied  coldly. 

"Or  sedate  and  sensible,"  he 
went  on.  "  None  of  them  but 
found  John  M'lver  of  Barbeck  their 
very  true  cavalier." 

"Indeed,"  said  Mistress  Betty, 
colder  than  ever,  some  new  thought 
working  within  her,  judging  from 
the  tone.  "  And  yet  you  leave  to- 
morrow, and  have  never  been  to 
Carlunnan."  She  said  the  last 
words  with  a  hesitancy,  blushing 
most  warmly.  To  me  they  were  a 
dark  mystery,  unless  I  was  to  as- 
sume, what  I  did  wildly  for  a 
moment,  only  to  relinquish  the 
notion  immediately,  that  she  had 
been  in  the  humour  to  go  visiting 
her  friends  with  him.  M'lver's 
face  showed  some  curious  emotion 
that  it  baffled  me  to  read,  and  all 
that  was  plain  to  me  was  that  here 
were  two  people  with  a  very  strong 
thought  of  a  distressing  kind  be- 
tween them. 

"  It  would  be  idle  for  me,"  he 
said  in  a  little,  "to  deny  that  I 
know  what  you  mean.  But  do  you 
not  believe  you  might  be  doing  me 
poor  justice  in  your  suspicions'?" 

"  It  is  a  topic  I  cannot  come 
closer  upon,"  she  answered  ;  "  I  am 
a  woman.  That  forbids  me  and  that 
same  compels  me.  If  nature  does 
not  demand  your  attendance  up 
there,  then  you  are  a  man  wronged 
by  rumour  or  a  man  dead  to  every 
sense  of  the  human  spirit.  I  have 
listened  to  your  humour  and  laughed 
at  your  banter,  for  you  have  an  art 
to  make  people  forget ;  but  all  the 
way  I  have  been  finding  my  light- 
ness broken  in  on  by  the  feeble  cry 
of  a  child  without  a  mother — it 
seems,  too,  without  a  father." 

"  If  that  is  the  trouble,"  he  said, 
turning  away  with  a  smile  he  did 
not  succeed  in  concealing  either 
from  the  lady  or  me,  "you  may 
set  your  mind  at  rest.  The  child 
you  mention  has,  from  this  day, 


88 


John  Splendid. 


[July 


what  we  may  bo  calling  a  god- 
father." 

"  Then  the  tale's  true  ? "  she  said, 
stopping  on  the  road,  turning  and 
gazing  with  neither  mirth  nor 
warmth  in  her  countenance. 

M'lver  hesitated,  and  looked  upon 
the  woman  to  me  as  if  I  could  help 
him  in  the  difficulty  ;  but  I  must 
have  seemed  a  clown  in  the  very 
abjection  of  my  ignorance  of  what 
all  this  mystery  was  about.  He 
searched  my  face  and  I  searched 
my  memory,  and  then  I  recollected 
that  he  had  told  me  before  of 
Mistress  Brown's  suspicions  of  the 
paternity  of  the  child. 

"  I  could  well  wish  your  answer 
came  more  readily,"  said  she  again, 
somewhat  bitterly,  "  for  then  I 
know  it  would  be  denial." 

"  And  perhaps  untruth,  too,"  said 
John,  oddly.  "This  time  it's  a 
question  of  honour,  a  far  more 
complicated  turn  of  circumstances 
than  you  can  fancy,  and  my  answer 
takes  time." 

"Guilty!"  she  cried,  "and  you 
go  like  this.  You  know  what  the 
story  is,  and  your  whole  conduct  in 
front  of  my  charges  shows  you  take 
the  very  lightest  view  of  the  whole 
horrible  crime." 

"Say  away,  madarne,"  said  M'lver, 
assuming  an  indifference  his  every 
feature  gave  the  lie  to.  "I'm  no 
better  nor  no  worse  than  the  rest 
of  the  world.  That's  all  I'll  say." 

"  You  have  said  enough  for  me, 
then,"  said  the  girl.  "  I  think, 
Elrigmore,  if  you  please,  I'll  not 
trouble  you  and  your  friend  to  come 
further  with  me  now.  I  am  obliged 
for  your  society  so  far." 

She  was  gone  before  either  of  us 
could  answer,  leaving  us  like  a  pair 
of  culprits  standing  in  the  middle 
of  the  road.  A  little  breeze  fanned 


her  clothing,  and  they  shook  behind 
her  as  to  be  free  from  some  con- 
tamination. She  had  overtaken 
and  joined  a  woman  in  front  of 
her  before  I  had  recovered  from 
my  astonishment.  M'lver  turned 
from  surveying  her  departure  with 
lowered  eyebrows,  and  gave  me  a 
look  with  half-a-dozen  contending 
thoughts  in  it. 

"  That's  the  end  of  it,"  said  he, 
as  much  to  himself  as  for  my  ear, 
"  and  the  odd  thing  of  it  again  is 
that  she  never  seemed  so  precious 
fine  a  woman  as  when  it  was  '  a' 
bye  wi'  aulcl  days  and  you,'  as  the 
Scots  song  says." 

"  It  beats  me  to  fathom,"  I  con- 
fessed. "Do  I  understand  that  you 
admitted  to  the  lady  that  you  were 
the  father  of  the  child  ? " 

"  I  admitted  nothing,"  he  said, 
cunningly,  "  if  you'll  take  the 
trouble  to  think  again.  I  but  let 
the  lady  have  her  own  way,  which 
most  of  her  sex  generally  manage 
from  me  in  the  long-run." 

"  But,  man  !  you  could  leave  her 
only  one  impression,  that  you  are 
as  black  as  she  thinks  you,  and  am 
I  not  sure  you  fall  far  short  of 
that  ? " 

"Thank  you,"  he  said;  "it  is 
good  of  you  to  say  it.  I  am  for  off 
whenever  my  affairs  here  are  settled, 
and  when  I'm  the  breadth  of  seas 
afar  from  Inneraora,  you'll  think  as 
well  as  you  can  of  John  M'lver, 
who'll  maybe  not  grudge  having 
lost  the  lady's  affection  if  he  kept 
his  friend's  and  comrade's  heart." 

He  was  vastly  moved  as  he  spoke. 
He  took  my  hand  and  wrung  it 
fiercely  ;  he  turned  without  another 
word,  good  or  ill,  and  strode  back 
on  his  way  to  the  camp,  leaving 
me  to  seek  my  way  to  the  town 
alone. 


(To  be  continued.) 


1898.] 


Karim  :  a  Model  Shikari. 


89 


KARIM:     A     MODEL     SHIKARI. 


KARIM'S  origin,  like  that  of 
other  great  men,  was  obscure.  He 
was  not  born  in  the  purple ;  for 
his  father  was  a  "sweeper,"  and 
he  himself  began  life  on  the 
lowest  rung  of  the  sporting  ladder 
in  the  capacity  of  dog-boy.  His 
rise  was  rapid,  and  when  I  first 
knew  him,  he  had  gained  early  in 
life  fame  and  popularity  almost 
equal  to  that  of  a  favourite  foot- 
ball-player in  Lancashire  or  of  a 
fashionable  light  -  weight  jockey. 
He  was  the  best  known  and  most 
successful  shikari  in  a  tract  of 
country  as  large  as  France. 

An  innate  love  of  sport,  in  the 
best  sense  of  the  word,  was  the 
real  secret  of  his  success.  Many 
big-game  shikaris — men,  too,  who 
bring  a  good  deal  to  bag — scoff  at 
any  quarry  less  than  a  tiger  or  a 
panther ;  but  Karim,  if  nothing 
more  serious  was  afoot,  would 
direct  a  duck-drive  or  mark  snipe 
with  the  keenness  of  a  schoolboy. 
The  same  spirit  made  walking 
along  a  road  irksome  to  him.  On 
the  march  he  took  his  own  line 
across  the  fields  or  through  the 
jungle,  and  would  come  into  camp 
with  a  story  of  how  he  had  been 
on  the  tracks  of  a  wolf,  or  had  seen 
a  jackal  and  cubs  slinking  into  a 
sugar-cane  brake,  and  so  on.  This 
sporting  instinct  was  a  family  trait. 
His  brother,  Abdulla,  loved  his 
neighbour's  wife  not  wisely  but 
too  well ;  and  as  what  gods  call 
gallantry,  and  men  call  by  an 
uglier  name,  is  a  penal  offence  in 
India,  Abdulla  the  gay  was  laid  by 
the  heels,  and  retired  from  the 
world  for  a  term  of  six  months. 
At  first  he  was  an  exemplary 
prisoner,  but  with  the  approach  of 
the  hot  weather  a  spirit  of  unrest 
entered  into  his  soul.  He  began 


to  dream  of  cool  spots  in  the  bed 
of  a  nullah,  with  a  fringe  of 
jhamun- bushes  and  a  floor  of  damp 
sand ;  of  a  tiger  in  the  twilight 
coming  to  drink  at  a  stagnant  pool 
hard  by ;  of  a  buffalo-calf  tied  on 
the  brink  of  the  pool ;  of  the  dark 
night  with  a  sound  of  munching 
of  bones ;  of  the  beat  with  all  its 
excitement ;  of  the  crack  of  the 
rifle  followed  by  an  increased  hub- 
bub among  the  beaters,  and  then  a 
shout  of  victory  from  the  sahib's 
gun-bearer.  His  visions  troubled 
him  as  much  as  visions  of  a  differ- 
ent kind  once  troubled  a  famous 
prisoner  in  Bedford  jail,  and  he 
made  up  his  mind  to  break  his 
bonds.  In  this  he  succeeded,  and 
he  spent  his  hot  weather  in  the 
employment  of  a  shooting-party  in 
a  distant  part  of  the  country,  and 
so  fulfilled  his  dreams.  When  the 
party  broke  up  he  returned  to  his 
prison,  and  surrendered  with  the 
apology  that  confinement  in  the 
big-game  season  was  more  than  he 
could  bear.  So  it  was  with  Karim. 
Although  a  man  of  pleasure  and 
fond  of  money  to  gratify  his  tastes, 
wages  were  a  secondary  object  with 
him.  He  left  my  service  because 
I  could  not  give  up  the  time  for 
shooting,  and  exchanged  it  for  a 
place  with  about  half  the  pay  but 
in  a  fine  sporting  country. 

Fond  as  he  was  of  all  sport, 
Karim's  chief  joy  lay  in  the  danger 
and  excitement  of  hunting  the 
big  cats.  He  had  a  great  admira- 
tion for  them  ;  and  though  he 
would  conceal  it  by  abusing  them 
in  the  most  opprobrious  language, 
on  the  same  principle  that  led 
Bailey  Junior  to  taunt  the  brother 
to  Cauliflower,  he  always  hoped 
that  his  end  would  be  at  the 
hands,  or  perhaps  I  should  say 


90 


Karim, :  a  Model  Shikari. 


the  claws,  of  a  tiger.  In  their 
pursuit  he  left  as  little  as  possible 
to  chance  ;  for,  like  Fox,  he  pos- 
sessed an  infinite  capacity  for 
taking  pains.  In  many  parts  of 
India  the  common  mode  of  shoot- 
ing tigers  is  to  tie  up  a  bait,  and, 
in  the  event  of  a  kill,  to  beat  the 
jungle  up  to  the  guns.  Some 
shikaris  will  tie  up  buffalo-calves 
every  night  in  all  directions,  and 
without  a  thought  of  what  is  to 
take  place  next.  They  will  get  a 
kill — perhaps  more  than  one — but 
they  do  not  know  where  to  look 
for  the  tiger ;  and  you  pass  day 
after  day  in  the  burning  heat, 
beating  here  and  beating  there, 
and  never  get  a  shot.  With 
Karim  it  was  quite  different.  He 
would  be  content  with  four  or  five 
baits  at  a  time.  In  tying  them 
up  he  would  choose  a  place  with 
shade  and  water  near,  so  that  the 
tiger,  after  killing,  Avould  lie  up 
close  by;  and  he  would  take  care 
that  the  spot  was  commanded  by 
a  tree  or  rock  or  other  point  of 
vantage  frdm  which  he  could  see 
in  the  morning,  without  disturbing 
the  jungle,  whether  the  tiger  had 
killed  or  not.  At  the  same  time 
he  would  sketch  out  in  his  head 
the  general  plan  of  the  beat,  and 
make  up  his  mind  where  to  post 
his  guns.  In  bringing  the  game 
to  the  guns  his  skill  was  supreme. 
He  did  not  want  a  mob  of  men  in 
the  beat,  but  he  liked  a  large 
number  of  "  stops."  In  a  small 
jungle  thirty  men  in  all  would 
suffice ;  half  of  these  he  would 
employ  in  the  actual  work  of  beat- 
ing, and  he  would  perch  the  others 
on  trees  on  either  side  to  prevent 
the  tiger  breaking  away.  Their 
function  was  to  keep  on  tapping, 
like  a  boy  put  to  stop  pheasants 
from  running  out  at  the  end  of  a 
covert,  and  in  extreme  cases  to 
give  a  low  cough.  That  will  turn 
any  tiger,  and  a  friend  of  mine 


used  to  say  that  he  would  back  a 
certain  Bheel  shikari  to  bring  a 
tiger  to  a  given  point  single-hand- 
ed simply  by  heading  him  off  with 
a  cough  !  Karim  himself  always 
kept  in  the  beat,  and  directed 
operations  with  the  fertility  of 
resource  which  distinguishes  a  true 
general.  The  result  of  his  skill 
and  care  was  that  you  almost 
always  got  a  shot,  and  generally 
an  easy  one.  A  tiger  rarely  broke 
back  with  him,  but  occasionally  it 
would  get  away  at  the  side  through 
perhaps  an  over-excited  stop  shout- 
ing at  the  beast,  or  from  some 
other  accident.  In  such  cases  the 
gallop  of  the  full-bellied  tiger  will 
soon  slow  down  into  a  walk,  and 
then  Karim's  great  delight  was  to 
call  you  from  your  post,  take  you 
at  a  run  after  the  retreating  beast, 
and  get  you  a  shot  in  that  fashion. 
On  tracks  and  "sign"  he  was  as 
clever  as  Leatherstocking,  and 
he  had  very  little  to  learn  even 
from  a  Bheel.  He  used  to  say  : 
"  Sahib,  I  cannot  read  your  books, 
I  do  not  know  the  letters ;  but  I 
can  read  what  goes  on  in  the 
jungle,  and  you  do  not  know  the 
alphabet  of  it."  Which,  I  may  re- 
mark in  parenthesis,  was  too  true; 
for  so  elementary  a  difference  as 
that  between  the  tracks  of  a  wolf 
and  a  hyena  was  as  much  of  a 
puzzle  to  me  as  the  difference  be- 
tween Z  and  ampersand  (&)  was 
to  Bartle  Massey's  pupil. 

A  sporting  subaltern  once  said 
to  me  that  he  wished  for  no  higher 
compliment  than  to  be  reckoned  a 
good  man  to  be  with  in  following 
up  a  wounded  tiger  on  foot.  There 
was  something  in  it ;  for  most  men 
covet  nerve,  coolness,  and  pluck. 
Of  all  men  I  have  known  I  would 
sooner  have  had  Karim  with  me 
in  such  case,  for  he  possessed  those 
qualities  in  the  highest  degree. 
Nor  was  his  courage  begotten  of 
ignorance  and  mere  high  spirits. 


1898.1 


Karim :  a  Model  Shikari. 


91 


He  was  not  foolhardy,  like  three 
young  sportsmen  who  once  tracked 
a  wounded  tiger  into  a  sugar-cane 
field.  Two  of  them  cut  a  path 
through  the  canes,  while  the  third 
stood  over  them  with  his  rifle  at 
full  cock.  Luckily  they  found  the 
beast  dead;  I  say  "luckily,"  because 
you  can  see  as  far  ahead  of  you 
in  a  cane-brake  as  you  could  in  a 
field  of  seed-clover  ten  feet  high. 
Karim  knew  exactly  the  risk  in 
front  of  him.  He  had  good  reason 
to  do  so,  for  he  had  been  twice 
badly  mauled.  In  the  first  case 
a  panther  was  the  offender,  and 
Karim  was  laid  up  for  some  time. 
Before  the  doctor  gave  him  his  dis- 
charge he  left  the  hospital,  made 
straight  for  the  jungle  where  he 
had  been  mauled,  tracked  his 
friend,  and  shot  him.  On  the 
second  occasion  Karim  was  fol- 
lowing up  a  wounded  tiger;  the 
brute  charged,  knocked  him  over, 
and  clawed  him  in  the  face.  This 
would  have  sent  most  men  home  ; 
but  Karim  went  on,  and  killed  the 
tiger  before  returning  to  camp  to 
have  his  wounds  dressed.  Even 
this  did  not  destroy  his  nerve, 
for  an  adventure,  not  long  after, 
showed  that  his  old  coolness  and 
courage  had  not  deserted  him.1 
He  was  leading  his  army  of  beaters 
after  a  tiger,  which  had  gained  an 
evil  reputation  for  a  sulky  and 
vicious  temper.  All  of  a  sudden 
the  tiger  got  up  from  where  it  had 
been  lying,  and,  undismayed  by  the 
shouts  of  the  beaters  or  the  din  of 
the  drums,  rattles,  horns,  and  other 
unmusical  instruments  which  are 
played  with  vigour  on  such  occa- 
sions, charged  down  on  the  line, 
and  knocked  over  a  man  who  was 
next  to  Karim.  The  latter  had 
nothing  but  a  cudgel  in  his  hand  ; 


but  he  laid  it  on  to  the  tiger's  back 
with  such  effect  that  the  brute 
left  his  victim  and  turned  away, 
without,  strange  to  say,  attacking 
Karim.  The  beater  escaped  un- 
hurt, owing  to  the  tiger's  claw 
striking  a  brass  plate  containing 
the  man's  food,  and  tied  across  his 
back  in  a  cloth.  The  sequel  is 
best  told  in  the  words  of  Colonel 
Mackenzie  : — 

"To  return  to  the  tiger  after  he 
had  parted  from  the  beater — Karim 
(who  stood  his  ground  close  by)  saw 
the  tiger,  after  a  moment's  disap- 
pointed and  astonished  pause,  turn 
and  slowly  go  growling  to  the  shelter 
of  a  large  bush.  It  would  have  been 
madness,  of  course,  to  try  and  dis- 
lodge him  with  the  beaters  ;  so,  after 
a  short  consultation,  Karim,  with  one 
other  man,  fired  the  jungle  to  wind- 
ward, designing  to  drive  the  tiger  out 
before  the  tire,  Mr  F.  barring  the  way 
ahead.  A  broad  line  of  grass  was 
fired,  and  as  the  fire  crackled  and 
tore  down  before  the  wind  in  a  sheet 
of  flame,  Karim  alone  followed  close 
in  its  wake  with  a  double-barrelled 
•450  Express  rifle  in  his  hand.  As 
the  fire  was  about  to  sweep  over  and 
round  the  bush  into  which  he  had 
seen  the  tiger  retreat,  he  called  to 
Mr  F.  to  look  out.  His  shout  was 
instantly  answered  ;  for  over  and 
through  the  flame  came  the  tiger  in 
one  great  bound,  roaring  at  him.  It 
was  a  blood-curdling  moment,  and 
for  Karim  seemed  certain  death  ;  but 
Karim  himself  never  flinched.  He 
was  seen  to  drop  on  one  knee,  to  raise 
the  rifle,  and  in  quick  succession 
came  the  report  of  both  barrels  ; 
then  suddenly  he  swayed  his  body  on 
one  side  to  escape  being  knocked  over. 
His  nerve  and  excellent  aim  had  saved 
him  ;  for  as  the  tiger  landed  on  the 
ground,  literally  brushing  Karim  as 
he  passed,  he  fell  stone-dead.  Both 
bullets  had  entered  between  the  eyes, 
and  smashed  up  the  brain-pan." 

Another  valuable  trait  inKarim's 


1  This  account  of  an  incident  which  occurred  after  I  left  India  is  taken  from 
a  letter  written  to  the  '  Field '  of  September  21,  1889,  by  Colonel  Mackenzie  of  the 
Indian  Staff  Corps. 


Karim  :  a  Model  Shikari. 


[July 


character  was  his  unfailing  good- 
temper.  He  never  bullied  his 
beaters,  and  they  in  return  always 
did  their  best  for  him.  If  things 
went  "a-gley,"  he  was  never  dis- 
couraged, but  would  just  set  to 
work  to  put  them  right.  If  an 
easy  shot  was  missed,  his  simple 
philosophy  furnished  him  with  the 
explanation  that  it  was  not  the 
tiger's  "  day  "  to  die — a  position 
from  which  no  metaphysics  could 
dislodge  him.  He  always  saw  the 
advantage  of  being  on  good  terms 
with  the  villagers  wherever  he 
went,  and  his  cheery  nature  in- 
variably made  him  a  favourite 
with  them.  He  was  once  sent  to 
spy  out  a  country  to  which  he  was 
a  stranger.  The  jungle-folk  were 
a  rough  lot,  and  be  was  told  that 
they  would  probably  rob  and  pos- 
sibly maltreat  him.  He  was  away 
about  a  fortnight,  and  then  came 
back  with  a  famous  report  of  the 
jungles.  He  had  won  the  hearts 
of  the  "  savages "  by  shooting  a 
deer  or  two  for  their  meat,  and 
some  vultures  to  supply  feathers 
for  their  arrows.  He  promised 
them  that  if  the  "  sahibs  "  came 
they  would  bring  a  supply  of  salt, 
tobacco,  and  chillies — three  luxu- 
ries which  the  simple  hillmen 
seldom  saw.  A  few  days  later 
we  set  out  for  the  promised  land, 
and  at  Karim's  advice  took  with 
us  three  camels  laden  with  the 
articles  just  named.  On  the  first 
day  there  was  difficulty  about 
beaters  ;  their  misgivings  had  after 
all  been  too  strong  for  the  jungle- 
folk,  and  only  the  headman  and 
some  half-dozen  turned  out.  So 
servants  and  camelmen  were  im- 
pressed into  the  service,  and  even 
the  Goanese  chef  was  enrolled  as 
a  drummer.  I  remember  well  the 
piteous  expression  on  the  face  of 
my  old  dhobi  (a  man  of  peace 
from  Lower  Bengal),  who  was  a 
heaven  -  born  stop  in  virtue  of  a 


low  nervous  cough  with  which 
Providence  had  endowed  him, 
when  he  found  himself  enlisted 
in  the  ranks — an  expression  which 
changed  to  a  melancholy  smile 
when  he  was  told  that  he  was 
only  required  to  sit  high  up  in  a 
big  tree  and  exercise  his  natural 
gift.  To  make  a  long  story  short, 
a  tiger  was  killed,  and  the  half- 
dozen  hillmen  were  called  up  to 
receive  their  reward.  They  took 
their  four  annas  apiece  without 
emotion  ;  but  when  they  were  told 
to  help  themselves  out  of  the  bags 
of  tobacco,  chillies,  and  salt,  their 
stolid  indifference  disappeared,  and 
they  grabbed  as  much  as  six  naked 
pocketless  men  could  carry  away. 
On  the  next  day  we  might  have 
had  150  beaters.  The  result  of 
Karim's  tact  in  dealing  with  these 
simple  people  was  that  two  guns 
bagged  six  tigers  and  other  game 
in  ten  days,  within  twenty  -  five 
miles  of  a  fairly  large  cantonment. 
The  merit  of  this  performance  is 
much  increased  when  I  add  that 
the  scene  of  it  lay  some  hundreds 
of  miles  from  Karim's  own  coun- 
try, and  the  people  and  the  jungles 
were  alike  strange  to  him. 

As  I  have  said  before,  Karim 
was  catholic  in  his  sporting  tastes, 
and  he  thoroughly  enjoyed  bear- 
shooting.  Now,  the  little  black 
bear  of  the  plains  of  India  is,  in 
my  humble  opinion,  a  pluckier 
beast  than  his  big  cousin,  the 
overrated  grizzly.  I  have  seen  a 
female  of  the  latter  persuasion 
desert  her  cubs  in  a  way  that 
the  humblest  black  bear  would 
despise.  Still,  bears  are  slow 
movers,  and  if  they  are  hit,  they 
must  stop  in  order  to  examine 
the  wound.  This  want  of  dash 
makes  it  possible  to  take  greater 
liberties  with  them  than  with 
more  dangerous  game,  and  herein 
lies  much  of  the  charm  of  the 
sport.  One  year  I  was  with 


Karim :  a  Model  Shikari, 


1898.] 

Karim  in  a  remote  part  of  the 
country  which  fairly  swarmed  with 
bears.  There  were  a  lot  of  little, 
low,  isolated  hills,  dotted  over  a 
wide  plain,  and  covered  with  grass 
and  patches  of  scrub-jungle.  The 
bears  used  to  come  down  at  night 
to  feed,  and  returning  to  the  hills 
about  sunrise,  sleep  under  a  bush 
during  the  day.  Karim  adopted 
a  rather  original  plan  of  operations. 
He  was  out  before  daybreak,  and 
if  he  succeeded  in  marking  a  bear 
down,  he  took  me  out  in  the  heat 
of  the  day,  when,  instead  of  beating 
the  hills  in  the  ordinary  way,  we 
would  steal  in  quietly  on  Bruin's 
"secure  hour,"  and,  sitting  down 
within  a  few  paces,  would  listen 
to  his  extraordinary  snorts  and 
grunts.  This  simply  delighted 
Karim,  and  after  enjoying  the 
music  for  some  minutes  he  would 
wake  the  slumberer  with  a  well- 
directed  stone  or  clod  of  earth. 
As  the  brute  got  up  half  angry 
and  half  dazed,  he  almost  always 
gave  an  easy  shot. 

No  one  told  a  story  better 
than  Karim,  and  one  which  he 
used  to  repeat  with  great  gusto 
always  amused  me.  An  inexper- 
ienced sportsman,  whom  we  will 
call  X,  was  staying  in  camp  with 
Karim's  master.  Karim  had 
marked  down  a  bear  with  cubs 
in  a  hole  on  the  side  of  a  hill. 
He  said  to  X  :  "If  you  want  to 
see  some  fun,  now  is  your  time. 


93 


I  will  throw  some  stones  into  the 
hole ;  the  bear  will  charge  out, 
and  as  I  run  away,  with  the  bear 
after  me,  you  will  shoot  her." 
The  first  part  of  the  programme 
was  quite  a  success.  Karim  and 
the  bear  played  their  parts  to  the 
letter ;  but  X  was  too  nervous  or 
excited  to  play  his.  On  went 
Karim  and  on  went  the  bear  ;  but 
never  a  shot  did  X  fire.  Karim 
found  the  beast  gaining  on  him, 
but  he  waited  till  the  last  moment 
to  give  X  his  chance.  When  at 
last  Karim  turned  round,  the  bear 
was  so  close  that  he  had  not 
time  to  put  his  gun  to  his  shoulder. 
He  held  out  the  barrels,  and  as 
the  bear  seized  them  in  her  mouth, 
pulled  both  triggers.  The  poor 
old  lady's  teeth  received  such  a 
jar  that  she  did  not  wait  for 
any  more,  but  made  off,  and 
left  Karim  in  possession  of  the 
field. 

In  jotting  down  these  short 
notes  on  one  of  the  best  and  truest 
servants  that  ever  served  man,  I 
have  used  the  past  tense.  I  have 
heard  nothing  of  Karim  for  years  ; 
and  he  may  be  still  pursuing  sudden 
death,  or  he  may  be  enjoying  well- 
earned  rest  in  his  village  home. 
If  he  is  on  this  side  of  the  Styx, 
may  some  out-of-the-way  chance 
bring  to  his  knowledge  that  these 
pages  have  been  written  to  show 
that  he  has  not  been  forgotten  by 
one  of  his  former  masters. 


94 


The  Medical  Woman  in  Fiction. 


[July 


THE      MEDICAL     WOMAN     IN     FICTION. 


IT    ia    proverbially    difficult    to 
induce    the    public    to    take    any 
innovation   seriously.     There  is  a 
legend  that  when  we  were  threat- 
ened  with   a   revival  of   crinoline 
some  five  years  back,  a  courageous 
lady  journalist  volunteered  to  test 
the  general  opinion  by  taking  her 
walks  abroad  in  the  new  garment, 
but  returned  very  quickly  in  tears, 
unable   to   face   the   scoffs  of    the 
passer-by.     The  fashion-column  of 
her  paper  did  not  again  advocate 
the  introduction  of  crinoline.     The 
problem-play  and  the  Yellow-Book 
style    of    illustration    were    both 
greeted   on  their  first  appearance 
with  jeers — nay,   it  is   whispered 
that    some    light-minded    persons 
have  even  ventured  to  make  fun 
of     that    monumental    work,    the 
Woman  Novel.     In  none  of  these 
cases   did   the   ridicule   effect    the 
destruction  of  its    object,   for  al- 
though the  total  disappearance  of 
the  three  forms  of   art  mentioned 
might   have   been   brought  about 
without    appreciably    diminishing 
the  sum  of  human  happiness  (since 
even  the  artist  might  have  turned 
his    attention    to    more    agreeable 
themes),  the  task  was  left  to  their 
own  inherent  unpleasantness.     It 
is    even    possible    that    the  irony 
directed    against    them    has    con- 
tributed  to   lengthen  their   brief 
span  of  mortality,  just  as  certain 
weighty  books  of  the  earlier  part 
of  the  century  are  only  remembered 
through    Macaulay's    having    per- 
formed   a   vicious  war-dance  over 
them  in  the  pages  of  the  '  Edin- 
burgh  Review,'  for  ridicule,  like 
obloquy,  makes  an  excellent  adver- 
tisement.     The    rising   statesman 
persistently  ignored  by  the  comic 
papers  would  feel  tempted  to  insti- 
tute an  action  for  libel,  and  there 


are  various    associations,  political 
and  otherwise,   which  thrive  upon 
mockery    as    upon    their    natural 
food.     The  incurious  average  man 
is    stirred    up    by   it    to    discover 
what  all  the  fuss  is  about  and  to 
see   fair    play,   the    enthusiast    to 
adopt    with   effusion,    the    side   of 
the    party   attacked.     This    is    in 
addition  to  the  more  obvious  ad- 
vantages of  the  defection  of  weak- 
kneed  sympathisers  from  the  cause, 
and  the  bracing  and  hardening  of 
the  more  stalwart,  who  may  look 
back,  when  the  hurly-burly  is  over, 
on  its  storm  and   stress  with  the 
stern  joy  of  the  warrior.      What 
do  the  medical  women  of    to-day 
know  of    the  burning  excitement 
which  filled  the  lives  of  their  pre- 
decessors when  every  step  onward 
was    a    prize    to   be  wrestled  for, 
and  it  was  necessary  to  "  fight  all 
day  to  get  an  hour's  quiet  reading 
at  night "  1     They  have  their  com- 
pensations, no  doubt,  although  the 
honour   of    being  pioneers  in  the 
hard-fought  struggle  is  not  theirs. 
It  is  only  at  the  very  summit  of 
the  hill  Difficulty  that  the  temple 
of   Recognition  stands,    to  which, 
after  the  manner  of  the  allegorical 
title-pages  of   the    old   magazines, 
Effort,  crowned  by  Success,  is  wel- 
comed by  Royalty.     It  was  neces- 
sary   for   the    medical  woman  to 
prove  her  fitness  to  survive  before 
receiving,  like  the  feminine  use  of 
the  bicycle   and    other   social  de- 
velopments,   the    stamp     of     the 
approval  of  those  in  high  places. 
That  may  not   be   an    ideal  state 
of  affairs  in  which   the  "rapture 
of   pursuing "  is  the  sole  reward 
of    the   labourers,   while    the   en- 
couragement  and    the    sympathy 
are    given    to    those     who    have 
entered  into  their  labours  ;  but  at 


1898.] 


The  Medical  Woman  in  Fiction. 


95 


least  it  is  an  improvement  upon 
the  earlier  condition  of  things. 
The  opening  this  month  of  the 
new  science  laboratories  of  the 
London  School  of  Medicine  for 
Women  by  the  gracious  Princess 
whose  interest  in  other  forms  of 
female  education  has  so  often  been 
displayed,  marks  an  epoch.  Hence- 
forth, even  to  the  most  reactionary 
mind, the  medical  woman  is  neither 
a  fad  nor  a  fancy,  but  an  estab- 
lished fact. 

We  speak  on  this  subject  with 
a  pardonable  feeling  of  triumph, 
remembering  that  it  was  in  these 
pages 1  that  one  of  the  knights- 
errant  of  the  age  (that  smug  Mid- 
Victorian  age,  which  was  so  prim, 
so  inartistic,  so  suburban  —  in  a 
word,  so  second-rate  —  yet  which 
saw  the  birth  of  all  our  magnifi- 
cent, advanced,  Jin  de  siecle  move- 
ments) championed  for  the  first 
time  in  fiction  the  cause  of  the 
medical  woman.  In  saying  this, 
we  do  not  forget  that  in  those 
dark  days  of  chivalry,  in  which 
women  were  notoriously  unwom- 
anly, and  deservedly  held  in  the 
lowest  esteem,  the  "lovely  Isolde's 
lilye  hand  had  probed  the  rankling 
wound "  of  Sir  Tristrem,  or  that 
Rebecca  acted  the  part  of  a  sur- 
geon towards  Ivanhoe ;  but  since 
these  ladies  had  not  been  vilified 
either  for  acquiring  or  exercising 
their  surgical  skill,  it  was  unnec- 
essary to  defend  them.  When 
Charles  Reade  wrote  '  A  Woman- 
Hater,'  however,  the  struggle  was 
at  its  height,  or  perhaps  we  should 
say  that  the  weaker  party  had 
gone  to  the  wall.  There  was  no 
pretence  of  a  fair  field — the  less 
said  about  that  the  better — but  of 
the  other  essential  to  success  there 
was  an  abundant  supply.  The 
pioneer  medical  woman  received 
emphatically  no  favour  at  the 


time  when  her  hard  case  stirred 
the  heart  of  the  man  who  tried  in 
each  of  his  books  to  aim  a  deadly 
blow  at  some  abuse  or  other. 

We  would  not  be  understood  to 
claim  '  A  Woman-Hater '  as  one  of 
Reade's  finest  works.  The  lady 
doctor,  despite  the  author's  gallant 
efforts  to  assure  us  of  the  contrary, 
is  too  obviously  brought  in  to  re- 
count the  iniquities  of  her  oppon- 
ents, and  thus  to  provide  the  nec- 
essary philanthropic  purpose  of 
the  novel,  and  none  of  the  other 
personages  are  particularly  sym- 
pathetic. Moreover,  the  history 
of  Rhoda  Gale's  struggles,  which 
is  sufficiently  full  to  bear  breaking 
up  into  a  number  of  convenient 
portions,  like  Shahrazad's  tales  or 
the  instructive  contents  of  '  Even- 
ings at  Home,'  is  delivered  in  a 
neat  little  controversial  tract  of 
thirty-five  pages  or  thereabouts, 
so  well  supplied  with  dates  and 
statistics  that  it  is  necessary  to 
confer  on  the  narrator  a  phenom- 
enal memory  acutely  cultivated  by 
art  to  render  its  delivery  credible. 
It  is  possible,  of  course,  that  a 
young  lady  just  rescued  from  star- 
vation would  tell  her  whole  story 
in  a  breath,  so  to  speak,  to  the 
man  who  had  befriended  her  in 
a  London  square ;  but  we  cannot 
avoid  a  fear  that  the  excrescence 
which  it  presents  on  the  novel  is 
the  outcome  of  a  desire  to  keep 
the  facts  together  for  purposes  of 
reference. 

If  this  was  indeed  the  author's 
object,  it  would  be  impossible  to 
accomplish  it  with  greater  success, 
and  we  would  recommend  the 
study  of  this  portion,  at  least,  of 
the  book  to  the  medical  woman  of 
to-day  who  is  inclined  to  accept 
her  privileges  with  an  easy  com- 
placency, forgetting  the  "  great 
fight  of  afflictions  "  through  which 


'  Maga,'  June  1876  to  June  1877. 


96 


Th<i  Medical  Woman  in  Fiction. 


[July 


they  were  gained  for  her.  She 
will  learn  here  how  Miss  Garrett, 
better  known  to  her  as  Dr  Garrett- 
Anderson,  had  the  presumption  to 
pass,  in  spite  of  all  the  difficulties 
thrown  in  her  way,  the  only  English 
medical  examinations  then  open 
to  women,  those  of  Apothecaries' 
Hall,  and  how  the  door  through 
which  she  had  passed  was  promptly 
shut  in  the  faces  of  any  who  might 
wish  to  follow  her  example,  by 
those  who  were  aghast  at  her 
success.  She  will  learn  that  Miss 
Jex-Blake  sought  in  vain  to  obtain 
admission  to  the  London  Univer- 
sity examinations,  and  on  turning 
her  attention  to  those  of  Edin- 
burgh, was  informed  by  one  of  the 
professors  to  whom  she  appealed 
that  "no  decent  woman  would 
apply  to  him  to  study  medicine." 
Undeterred  even  by  this  obiter 
dictum,  a  little  band  of  ladies 
gained  leave  to  enter  for  the 
preliminary  examination,  after 
passing  which  they  were  to  be 
allowed  to  matriculate ;  but  fail- 
ing to  take  warning  by  the  fate 
of  Miss  Garrett,  they  passed  so 
well  that  a  deliberate  attempt  was 
made  to  revoke  the  promise  given. 
The  effort  failed,  and  for  six 
mouths  the  lady  medical  students 
worked  under  the  happiest  aus- 
pices, until  the  result  of  the  class 
examinations  awoke  the  slumber- 
ing animosities  once  more.  The 
women  distinguished  themselves 
too  signally,  and  it  was  thought 
fit  to  punish  them  by  refusing 
Miss  Pechey  the  scholarship  in 
chemistry  which  she  had  earned, 
and  denying  her  also  admission  to 
the  University  laboratory.  The 
loss  to  Edinburgh  and  to  science 
was  great,  and  although  it  is 
possible  that  humanity  has  bene- 
fited more  by  Dr  Pechey-Phipson's 
work  at  the  Cama  Hospital  in 
Bombay  than  it  would  have  done 
by  the  original  research  from 


which  she  was  debarred,  this 
undesigned  gain  can  scarcely  be 
placed  to  the  credit  of  the  Uni- 
versity. One  result  of  the  pre- 
ferential dealing  exhibited  was 
such  an  outburst  of  public  scorn 
that  certain  of  the  classes  from 
which  the  ladies  had  been  excluded 
were  opened  to  them  ;  but  the  suc- 
cess was  counterbalanced  by  the 
necessity  of  studying  anatomy  and 
clinical  surgery  at  Surgeons'  Hall, 
since  the  professors  of  the  Uni- 
versity flatly  refused  to  instruct 
women.  It  is  curious,  in  the 
light  of  this  month's  celebration, 
to  observe  that  the  name  of  the 
highest  lady  in  the  land  was  in- 
voked to  justify  the  conduct  of 
the  University  authorities.  But 
the  hottest  fight  raged  over  the 
question  of  the  right  of  the  lady 
students  to  practise  in  the  town 
Infirmary;  and  while  its  echoes 
were  resounding  from  end  to  end 
of  the  kingdom,  there  occurred  the 
shameful  riot,  the  disgrace  of 
which  can  never  quite  be  wiped 
out,  even  by  the  deepest  penitence 
and  the  most  sincere  recantation 
of  its  errors  on  the  part  of  the 
University.  Hard  words  the 
ladies  had  received  in  abundance, 
but  this  was  the  first  time  they 
had  been  exposed  to  the  danger 
of  broken  bones,  owing  it  to  the 
chivalry  of  some  of  the  male 
students  that  they  returned  safely 
to  their  lodgings.  Shortly  after 
this  the  battle  of  the  Infirmary 
was  practically  won,  and  additional 
women  students,  encouraged  by 
the  success  of  the  pioneers,  pre- 
sented themselves  for  matricula- 
tion, much  to  the  alarm  of  the 
authorities.  After  springing  upon 
the  ladies  an  unsuccessful  practical 
joke  or  two  by  forbidding  them,  on 
the  day  before  their  examinations, 
to  enter  for  them,  these  gentlemen 
were  suddenly  afflicted  with,  a 
doubt  as  to  their  legal  right  to 


1898.] 

admit  women  to  examinations  at 
all.  This  happy  qualm  rendered 
it  incumbent  upon  them  not  only 
to  refuse  to  accept  the  new  candi- 
dates, but  also  to  deny  the  first 
dauntless  band  the  means  of  con- 
tinuing their  studies,  regardless  of 
the  time  they  had  already  spent 
and  the  money  they  had  paid. 
More  money  was  wasted  and  time 
lost  in  testing  the  matter  in  the 
law-courts,  and  at  last  the  female 
students,  baffled  and  unable  to 
obtain  redress,  shook  off  the  dust 
of  Edinburgh  from  their  feet,  and 
turned  to  the  Continental  univer- 
sities, which  had  all  opened  their 
doors  to  women.  The  Rhoda 
Gale  of  the  story  completed  her 
course  at  Montpellier,  and  re- 
turned to  England  to  find  it 
impossible  to  make  use  of  her 
hard-won  knowledge,  owing  to  the 
law  which  refused  registration 
to  any  physician  not  holding  a 
British  diploma. 

Such  is  the  tale  she  tells  to  Har- 
rington Yizard  in  Leicester  Square, 
and  hearing  it,  one  cannot  wonder 
either  at  her  indignation  or  that 
of  the  author — an  indignation  to 
which  both  give  free  vent.  Dr 
Rhoda  shares  one  characteristic 
with  the  majority  of  medical 
women  in  fiction, — she  is  not  at  all 
meek ;  indeed  she  is  of  an  essenti- 
ally combative  temperament.  We 
must  own  that  we  have  not  ob- 
served this  peculiarity  to  be  gene- 
ral among  lady  doctors  in  real  life  ; 
but  then  we  have  never  attempted 
to  convince  them  that  it  was  either 
impossible  or  improper  for  them  to 
have  studied  medicine,  as  is  the 
invariable  wont  of  the  gentlemen 
with  whom  they  are  forced  to 
associate  in  the  pages  of  romance. 
Had  we  been  so  rash  as  to  enter 
upon  this  controversy,  \ve  con- 
fess to  a  lingering  fear  that  the 
combativeness  to  which  we  allude 
might  have  exhibited  itself,  for  it 

VOL.  CLXIV. — NO.  DCCCCXCIII. 


The  Medical  Woman  in  Fiction. 


97 


is  difficult  to  convince  a  successful 
young  lady,  with  a  calm,  stand-no- 
nonsense  air  about  her,  that  her 
career  has  been  at  variance  with 
facts,  or,  worse  still,  with  pro- 
priety. Happily  for  Rhoda  Gale, 
however,  she  finds  in  the  Woman- 
Hater  the  friend  she  needs,  who  is 
perfectly  willing  to  allow  her  to 
exploit  his  estate,  and,  as  he 
would  probably  have  phrased  it, 
to  victimise  himself.  Her  experi- 
ences in  an  English  country  neigh- 
bourhood, curiously  contrasted 
with  the  scenes  of  her  cosmopoli- 
tan education,  are  highly  entertain- 
ing, at  times  even  startling,  and 
the  touch  of  shrewishness  which 
she  possesses  in  common  with  al- 
most all  Reade's  good  women 
stands  her  in  good  stead  when  she 
finds  herself  opposed  by  rustic 
stolidity.  We  leave  her  estab- 
lished as  the  unofficial  health- 
officer  of  the  district,  secure,  in 
spite  of  her  unregistered  condition, 
under  the  autocratic  sway  of 
Vizard,  who  succeeds  even  in  ob- 
taining for  her  permission  to  visit 
the  local  infirmary.  In  view  of 
such  protection  as  this,  it  is  worth 
her  while  to  disregard  the  peculi- 
arities of  a  gentleman  who  gives 
vent  in  conversation  to  occasional 
bursts  of  outrageous  misogyny,  and 
assumes  an  unusual  licence  with 
respect  to  personal  remarks  on  the 
appearance  of  the  ladies  he  is  ad- 
dressing. To  a  less  strong-minded 
lady  than  "  Doctress  Gale,"  as  her 
creator  calls  her,  this  habit  of  his 
would  have  been  disconcerting,  for 
the  first  of  the  lady  doctors  of  fic- 
tion does  not  resemble  the  greater 
number  of  her  successors  in  being 
beautiful.  A  tongue  and  a  memory 
such  as  hers  secure  her  against  the 
need  of  extraneous  aid ;  but  in 
view  of  the  professional  antagon- 
ism aroused  by  later  heroines  in 
the  breasts  of  their  male  acquaint- 
ance, it  is  as  well  that  the  strength 
G 


98 


The  Medical  Woman  in  Fiction. 


of  their  arguments  should  be  rein- 
forced by  that  of  their  personal 
charms. 

Beautiful,  for  instance,  is  the 
heroine  of  '  Sweethearts  and 
Friends ' x — one  of  those  beauties 
almost  peculiar  to  fiction,  who  are 
first  seen  as  shy  awkward  girls, 
with  red  hands  and  untidy  hair, 
and  wearing  tumbled  gowns  that 
look  as  if  they  had  been  flung  on 
with  a  pitchfork,  but  who  develop 
in  the  course  of  a  few  years  into 
beings  of  surpassing  loveliness,  ex- 
quisite taste  in  dress,  and  absolute 
neatness.  We  have  placed  this 
book  second  on  our  list,  although 
it  was  only  published  last  year,  on 
account  of  its  subject  (it  purports 
to  describe  the  life  of  a  woman 
student  in  the  seventies),  and  also 
for  another  reason.  On  its  ap- 
pearance the  critical  dove-cots 
were  fluttered  by  the  advent  of 
a  novel  so  extraordinarily  unequal, 
to  use  a  mild  term,  to  Maxwell 
Gray's  former  books.  We  our- 
selves cherished  the  hope  that  it 
might  prove  to  be  a  reprint  of  an 
early  work  under  a  new  title  (we 
think  this  an  immoral  proceeding 
as  a  matter  of  business,  but  it 
would  have  satisfied  us  in  an 
artistic  sense),  until  we  failed  in 
discovering  any  support  for  the 
theory ;  but  we  still  incline  to  the 
belief  that  it  was  written  at  the 
period  of  which  it  treats,  and  for 
some  reason  or  other  withheld 
from  publication  until  the  present 
time.  Colour  is  given  to  this 
hypothesis  by  the  asides  in  which 
the  author  indulges  on  such  sub- 
jects as  golf  and  bicycling,  Zola 
and  Ibsen  (the  Scandinavian  play- 
wright is  introduced  as  a  novelist, 
by  the  way),  and  the  closure,  which 
have  all  the  appearance  of  being 
interpolated  to  bring  the  book  up 
to  date ;  while  the  triumphant 


[July 

"Fulfilled  in  1897,"  as  a  footnote 
to  a  prophetic  passage  referring 
to  a  parliamentary  debate,  would, 
we  hope,  be  impossible  in  the  case 
of  a  prediction  uttered  after  the 
fact. 

Dr  Amy,  the  story  of  whose 
career  Maxwell  Gray  relates,  is  a 
remarkable  young  lady.  On  leav- 
ing school  she  begins  to  work  at 
anatomy  and  physiology,  among 
other  subjects,  "  with  a  view  to 
make  her  geological  studies  more 
complete."  The  choice  seems 
peculiar ;  but  perhaps  the  geolo- 
gists of  the  seventies  believed  in 
Mark  Twain's  fossil  man,  in  which 
case  they  would  naturally  wish  to 
know  all  about  him.  To  aid  her 
studies,  Amy  kept  a  human  skull 
under  her  pillow,  which  appears 
to  the  ordinary  mind  about  the 
most  unsafe  place  she  could  have 
chosen  in  the  daytime,  and  the 
most  uncomfortable  at  night.  We 
are  not  surprised  to  hear  that  the 
dog  obtained  possession  of  the 
ghastly  relic,  and  disturbed  the 
nerves  of  the  family  by  producing 
it  at  afternoon  tea ;  and  we  have 
a  suspicion  that  when  Amy's  rel- 
atives cast  her  off  on  account  of 
her  medical  studies,  it  was  as 
much  in  the  hope  of  protecting 
themselves  against  further  inci- 
dents of  the  kind  as  from  a  strict 
adherence  to  principle.  This  view 
is  strengthened  by  the  fact  that 
when  she  and  her  surgeon  brother 
had  both  completed  their  training, 
they  "  met  with  the  stipulation 
that  Amy  should  never  refer  to 
professional  topics,  and  were  as 
friendly  as  ever."  As  regards  the 
course  of  her  training,  the  lines 
are  fallen  to  Amy  in  pleasanter 
places  than  to  Rhoda  Gale,  for 
she  is  able  to  take  advantage  of 
the  newly  founded  School  of  Medi- 
cine for  "Women  (the  modest  com- 


1  Sweethearts  and  Friends.     By  Maxwell  Gray. 


1898.] 


The  Medical  Woman  in  Fiction. 


99 


mencement  of  the  great  enter- 
prise of  to-day)  in  prosecuting  her 
studies;  but  the  difficulties  were 
still  sufficient  to  daunt  most  people. 
"  How  they  had  been  pushed  about 
from  examining  body  to  examin- 
ing body,  found  perfect,  and  then 
denied  diplomas !  What  antag- 
onism they  had  encountered  in 
private  and  public !  They  had 
figured  in  public  prints  as  '  un- 
womanly women.'  Personal  rude- 
ness and  unmanly  sneers  they  had 
received.  ..." 

Add  to  this  that  the  pinch  of 
poverty  had  compelled  Amy  to 
spend  her  vacations  in  "teaching 
children,  supplementing  nursing 
staffs,  and  writing  for  magazines" 
— occupations  wholly  incompatible 
with  the  ideal  holiday  pursuit  of 
the  modern  lady  medical,  which  is 
to  read  steadily  for  her  next  exam. 
— and  we  wonder  not  only  that 
she  persisted  in  her  studies,  but 
that  she  survived  them.  After  so 
hard  an  apprenticeship,  it  is  but 
natural  that  she  should  refuse  to 
resign  her  profession  on  the  invita- 
tion of  a  gentleman  who  enunciates 
his  views  on  woman  thus  :  "  The 
ideal — h'm  ! — woman  is — ah! — a 
being  whose  weakness  is  her 
strength,  in  whom — ah  ! — feeling 
replaces  intellect,  meekness  and  re- 
finement strength — who  should  be 
a  rest  to  her  husband  by  her  free- 
dom from  toil,  a  strength  to  him 
by  the  appeal  of  her  weakness,  a 
joy  to  him  by  her  freedom  from 
sorrow  ; "  but  we  cannot  help  feel- 
ing that  the  poor  man  is  hardly 
used  throughout  the  book.  To 
begin  with,  he  is  unkindly  repre- 
sented as  the  embodiment  of  ab- 
solute perfection,  and  most  unduly 
handicapped  by  always  being  called 
"the  Immaculate,"  besides  being 
afflicted  with  a  "beautiful  velvet 
voice  "  and  "  beautiful  pansy  eyes." 
Such  drawbacks  as  these  should 
assuredly  be  passed  over  lightly, 


instead  of  being  insisted  upon  ad 
nauseam,  in  the  description  of  a  hero 
who,  after  all,  is  as  endurable  as  his 
creator  will  allow  him  to  be.  His 
intentions  are  of  the  very  best ;  we 
are  told  that  "  the  Immaculate  was 
deeply  grieved ;  he  felt  that  all 
these  girls  ought  to  have  been  mar- 
ried long  ago,  and  thus  saved.  But 
he  could  not,  under  existing  social 
arrangements,  marry  them  all,  else 
would  he  cheerfully  have  done  his 
duty  as  a  gallant  knight ;  "  and  it 
is  really  not  his  fault  that  he  does 
everything  with  grace  and  pro- 
priety or  with  elegance  and  dex- 
terity. Some  young  ladies,  it  is 
true,  might  not  care  to  be  addressed 
habitually  as  "  Dear  prophetess  " 
or  "Dear  pythoness,"  but  it  does 
not  appear  that  Amy  regarded  the 
epithet  as  anything  but  a  merited 
compliment.  Yet  she  treats  him 
with  an  austerity  that  provokes 
even  the  author  to  take  his  part — 
for  is  he  not  "too  beautiful  for 
words  "  at  the  moment  ? — so  that 
we  are  astonished  to  find  Amy 
described  as  a  "fiendish  young 
female."  This,  as  boys  would  say, 
is  "  coming  it  rather  strong." 

O  O 

But  the  poor  Iromaculate's 
troubles  do  not  end  here.  He 
has  succeeded  in  freeing  himself 
from  the  toils  of  the  pretty  little 
Siren  who  attracted  him  when 
Amy  proved  to  be  out  of  reach ; 
but  his  prophetess  still  refuses  to 
relent,  although  she  unbends  so  far 
as  to  dress  "at"  him  in  a  way 
curiously  like  that  of  the  ordinary 
woman,  and  he  finds  it  necessary 
to  soften  her  severity  by  risking 
his  life  in  a  burning  house.  This 
leads  to  the  most  astounding  scene 
in  the  book,  and  one  which  is 
apparently  intended  to  be  taken 
seriously.  The  Immaculate  is 
alone  on  the  balcony,  which  fire- 
men and  spectators  are  alike  afraid 
to  approach  from  below.  They 
have  thrown  him  a  rope,  but  he 


100 


The  Medical  Woman  in  Fiction. 


[July 


is  too  much  injured  to  use  it. 
Then,  "with  a  wild  cry  of  'With 
him  or  for  him,'  a  tall  young 
woman  dashed  through  hose- 
streams,  policemen,  and  firemen, 
caught  the  rope,  swarmed  up  it 
like  a  cat,  and  reached  the  totter- 
ing balcony  in  a  few  seconds." 
We  have  never  seen  a  cat  swarm 
up  a  rope  ;  but  far  be  it  from  us  to 
limit  the  powers  of  that  ingenious 
animal,  or  of  Amy,  who  "  could 
tie  herself  into  knots,  and  do 
wonderful  thm^s  on  the  horizontal 
bar."  Once  on  the  balcony,  she 
fastens  the  rope  round  the  Im- 
maculate, lifts  him  up  and  over 
the  rail,  and  lets  him  down,  then 
leaps  to  the  ground,  knocking 
down  a  fireman  in  her  fall.  The 
result  to  the  fireman  is  not  stated, 
but  we  fear  that  it  must  have  been 
serious ;  the  result  to  Amy  is  that 
she  marries  the  Immaculate.  We 
regret  to  say  that  he  urges  her  to 
this  step  with  the  plea,  "  I  am 
your  Frankenstein.  You  have 
given  me  life  "  ;  but  perhaps  as  a 
married  woman  she  rescued  suffi- 
cient time  from  her  professional 
avocations  to  correct  her  hus- 
band's quotations  before  they 
appeared  in  his  parliamentary 
speeches.  "Amy's  husband,"  we 
are  told,  "  never  forgot  the  cry 
that  rang  through  the  roaring 
flames  surrounding  him  of 
'  With  him  or  for  him  ! '  "  Prob- 
ably not ;  nor  probably  did  his 
acquaintances  ever  allow  him  to 
forget  it.  As  for  the  firemen, 
policemen,  and  other  casual 
auditors,  they  must  have  felt 
that  for  once  a  bit  of  Adelphi 
melodrama  had  wandered  into 
real  life. 

The  astonishing  youthfulness  of 
this  scene  is  a  strong  support  to 
our  theory  (save  that  we  can 
scarcely  imagine  a  mature  writer 


allowing  it  to  pass  as  anything  but 
a  skit),  but  there  are  a  good 
many  touches  in  the  book  which 
remind  us  that  the  Maxwell  Gray 
we  know  best  possesses  what  the 
eighteenth  century  would  have 
called  "an  agreeable  rallying 
turn."  Still,  as  we  have  seen,  the 
funniest  things  in  the  book  are 
those  which  to  all  appearance  are 
not  intended  to  be  so. 

Far  more  seriously  than  Max- 
well Gray  does  the  author  of 
'  Doctor  Victoria '  *  take  his 
heroine.  Like  Esther  Summer- 
son  in  '  Bleak  House,'  she  suffers 
from  the  consciousness  of  a  stain 
on  her  birth ;  but  with  much  less 
common-sense  than  that  young 
lady,  she  determines  that  the 
knowledge  renders  it  incumbent 
upon  her  never  to  marry.  For- 
tunately her  lover  is  easily  con- 
soled for  her  loss.  He  has  loved 
two  young  ladies  before  her,  and 
after  a  decent  interval  he  reverts 
to  one  of  them,  who  is,  though 
unknown  to  him,  Victoria's  half- 
sister,  while  Victoria  turns  her 
thoughts  to  a  philanthropic  career. 
Brought  up  by  a  friendly  doctor, 
who  has  a  theory  that  boys  and 
girls  should  be  educated  alike, 
since  the  same  teaching  will  pro- 
duce different  types  of  mind,  as 
the  same  food  builds  up  different 
bodily  forms,  she  begins  her  course 
as  a  nurse.  Having  come,  seen, 
and  conquered  at  St  Tobias's 
Hospital,  she  decides  to  study 
medicine,  much  to  the  disgust  of 
the  highest  authority  at  the 
hospital,  whose  two  pet  aversions 
are  tall  men  (he  is  short  himself) 
and  women  who  do  not  keep  in 
their  place.  He  demonstrates 
forcibly  to  her  guardian  that 
while  men  perform  their  com- 
plicated mental  processes  by 
reasoning,  women  arrive  at  cer- 


Doctor  \rictoria.     By  the  late  Major-General  Alexander,  C.B. 


1898.] 

tain  simple  conclusions  by  dint  of 
intuition,  and  that  consequently 
no  dependence  is  to  be  placed  on 
them  as  thinkers  ;  but  his  unbelief 
does  not  deter  her  from  going  to 
study  at  Zurich.  Her  medical 
course  is  a  highly  successful  one, 
but  her  experience  goes  to  prove 
the  truth  of  the  dictum  she 
advances  on  one  occasion,  "  Even 
freedom  has  its  price."  It  is 
because  she  is  without  family  ties 
that  she  is  able  to  devote  herself 
to  her  profession,  and  she  has  paid 
for  her  success  by  her  isolation. 
Victoria  is  the  one  specialist  we 
have  met  with  among  the  medical 
women  of  fiction.  The  sad  plight 
of  a  blind  child  in  whom  she  is 
interested  leads  her  to  direct  her 
attention  chiefly  to  diseases  of  the 
eye,  arid  the  thesis  which  she  reads 
before  taking  her  doctor's  degree 
is  on  this  subject.  It  commands 
universal  attention,  and  her 
diploma  is  accompanied  with  the 
highest  encomiums  the  examiners 
can  bestow.  Her  first  operation 
is  performed  on  the  child  for 
whom  she  has  worked,  and  is 
successful,  and  she  returns  to 
England  as  an  oculist,  obtaining 
an  extensive  practice  in  her  own 
speciality.  Her  male  confreres 
have  no  objection  to  meet  her  in 
consultation,  and  the  hostility  of 
outsiders  is  disarmed  by  her  at- 
tachment to  music  and  needle- 
work, and  the  care  she  bestows  on 
her  looks  and  her  dress. 

Very  different  is  the  fate  which 
befalls  the  unhappy  heroine  who 
gives  her  name  to  the  novel  called 
'Dr  Edith  Romney.'1  The  book 
was  originally  named  '  A  Woman's 
Chance,'  and  in  the  opinion  of  the 
author  that  chance  is  evidently  a 
poor  one.  "  A  sorrow's  crown  of 
sorrow,"  "Pelion  piled  on  Ossa," 
"linked  misery  long  drawn  out," 


The  Medical  Woman  in  Fiction. 


101 


— all  these  metaphors  fail  to  do 
justice  to  the  misfortunes  which 
overwhelm  poor  Edith,  who  is  more 
distinctly  a  woman,  and  less  the 
embodiment  of  a  cause,  than  the 
three  heroines  we  have  been  con- 
sidering. Her  mental  development 
is  traced  for  us  from  the  days  when 
she  hated  history  and  arithmetic 
and  devoured  story-books,  and  when 
her  imagination  ran  riot  in  huge 
schemes  of  philanthropy,  in  all  of 
which  she  took  a  prominent  part 
in  benefiting  the  human  race.  Her 
vague  dreams  are  merged  in  a 
definite  ambition  by  the  sights 
which  meet  her  eyes  as  she  accom- 
panies her  father,  a  country  doctor, 
on  his  rounds ;  and  she  throws 
herself  into  the  studies  she  had 
disliked,  in  the  hope  of  fitting  her- 
self for  a  medical  career.  Her 
father,  who  does  not  expect  the 
notion  to  last,  helps  her  to  attain 
the  special  training  needed,  and  at 
length,  when  he  discovers  she  is  in 
earnest,  allows  her,  in  spite  of  the 
vehement  opposition  of  the  rest  of 
her  family,  to  study  in  Paris.  At 
the  opening  of  the  book  we  find 
her  settled  in  a  country  town, 
where  she  has  built  up  for  herself 
an  excellent  practice,  composed 
almost  entirely,  it  must  be  con- 
fessed, of  ladies  who  have  been 
alienated  from  the  male  doctor  of 
the  place  by  his  coarseness  and 
lack  of  sympathy.  Edith  is  the 
fashion,  but  it  is  a  fashion  that 
seems  to  rest  on  a  secure  founda- 
tion, and  her  satisfaction  is 
without  any  alloy  of  fear  for  the 
future — a  condition  of  mind  which, 
in  the  opinion  of  the  modern  novel- 
ist no  less  than  of  King  Amasis,  is 
neither  more  nor  less  than  a  court- 
ing of  misfortune. 

The  misfortune  arrives  quickly 
enough  when  the  malevolent  old 
doctor,  whose  patients  have  de- 


1  Dr  Edith  Romney.     By  Anne  Elliot. 


102 


The  Medical  Woman  in  Fiction. 


[July 


serted  him  for  Edith,  imports  a 
young,  handsome,  and  travelled 
man  as  a  successor  to  himself. 
The  old  doctor  despises  women  as 
a  class,  and  hates  clever  women ; 
the  younger  detests  medical  women 
in  particular,  but  wholly  on  hear- 
say. Every  man  has  a  right  to 
his  opinions ;  but  the  man  who 
translates  them  into  action  as  Dr 
Fane  does  his,  is  badly  in  need  of 
a  sound  kicking.  We  should  be 
inclined  to  resent  his  portrait  as  a 
libel  on  the  medical  profession 
were  it  not  for  the  reflection  that 
some,  at  least,  of  the  students  who 
mobbed  the  ladies  at  Edinburgh 
in  1870  probably  completed  their 
course  and  embarked  on  an  inde- 
pendent career  without  mending 
their  ways.  Not  content  with 
setting  himself  deliberately  to 
win  Edith's  patients  away  from 
her,  Fane  speaks  of  her  and  her 
qualifications  in  the  most  slighting 
manner  to  every  one  he  meets,  in 
one  case  going  so  far  as  to  throw 
away,  with  a  contemptuous  gesture, 
the  medicine  she  has  prescribed  for 
a  poor  woman.  The  husband  of 
the  patient,  whom  Edith  has  re- 
buked for  beating  his  wife,  is  de- 
lighted to  be  able  to  spread  the 
rumour  that  the  lady  doctor  has 
been  slowly  poisoning  her.  Fane's 
tactics  are  only  too  successful,  and 
we  are  shown  how  Edith's  practice 
gradually  melts  away.  The  hypo- 
chondriacal  lady  whom  she  has 
treated  with  robust  common-sense 
finds  Fane  willing  to  humour  her ; 
the  strong-minded  schoolmistress, 
who  has  hitherto  called  in  the 
lady  doctor  on  principle,  forsakes 
her  in  consequence  of  the  fears  of 
parents ;  and  the  Lady  Bountiful 
who  patronised  her  as  the  repre- 
sentative of  one  more  deserving 
cause  finds  a  double  reason  for 
transferring  her  patronage  when 
she  discovers  that  her  son  is  at- 
tracted to  Edith,  and  that  there  is 


a  hope  her  daughter  may  attract 
Fane.  Day  after  day  the  intimate 
enemies  of  the  unfortunate  Edith 
drop  in  to  see  her,  and  remark 
airily,  "By  the  bye,  of  course  you 
know  that  Mrs  So-and-so  has  sent 
for  Dr  Fane1?"  with  a  cruelty 
.exceeding,  we  hope,  anything  pos- 
sible even  in  the  most  rural  of 
country  towns  in  real  life.  The 
fashion  has  changed,  and  there 
are  only  two  decent  or  charitable 
people  in  the  place,  and  one  of 
these  dies,  thereby  filling  Edith's 
cup  of  woe  to  the  utmost.  In 
compliance  with  her  friend's  dying 
request,  she  continues  to  visit  her 
children ;  but  their  father  has  be- 
come infected  with  the  prevailing 
distrust,  and  calls  in  Fane,  osten- 
sibly for  consultation,  but  when 
Fane  refuses  to  meet  the  lady 
doctor,  as  a  substitute  for  her. 
On  leaving  the  house  when  this 
brutal  dismissal  has  been  an- 
nounced to  her,  Edith  meets  her 
triumphant  rival  for  the  first  time 
face  to  face,  and  the  fact  that  her 
beauty  arouses  a  certain  amount 
of  compunction  in  his  breast  is  so 
far  satisfactory. 

We  are  bound  to  confess  that 
Edith  does  not  face  her  misfortunes 
with  the  spirit  we  had  anticipated. 
She  yields  weakly  to  the  ridiculous 
demand  of  the  vulgar  nouveau 
riche,  who  expects  her  to  be  con- 
tent with  lower  fees  because  she 
is  a  woman,  and  she  makes  no 
attempt  to  take  arms  against  her 
sea  of  troubles.  Even  if  we  grant 
that  the  peculiarly  malignant  in- 
stability of  her  patients  is  possible, 
we  should  have  expected  to  see 
her  comforting  herself  with  the 
reflection  that  the  next  swing  of 
the  pendulum  would  bring  them 
all  back  to  her,  and  otherwise 
putting  in  practice  the  philosophy 
which  is  popularly  supposed  to  be 
inculcated  by  the  difficulties  of  a 
long  and  hard  course  of  study. 


1898.] 


The  Medical  Woman  in  Fiction. 


103 


But  she  gives  way  very  quickly, 
and  allows  herself  to  be  affected 
even  by  the  discouraging  hints  of 
her  old  servant  that  her  failure  is 
a  "judgment"  for  taking  up  un- 
womanly work,  and  the  plaint  of 
her  clerical  brother  to  the  effect 
that  while  it  is  disgraceful  to  have 
a  sister  a  doctor,  an  unsuccessful 
lady  doctor  is  a  lower  depth  still. 
Edith  was  born  a  little  too  late. 
A  share  in  the  struggles  of  the 
dauntless  seven  at  Edinburgh, 
preparatory  to  her  Parisian  course, 
would  have  done  her  all  the  good 
in  the  world  in  the  way  of  moral 
bracing. 

While  Edith  is  sinking  into  a 
state  of  deep  depression,  Fane  finds 
that  his  evil  doing  is  returning 
upon  his  own  head.  Although  he 
is  engaged  to  the  Lady  Bountiful's 
daughter,  his  mind  is  full  of  Edith, 
and  he  makes  valiant  but  unfortu- 
nate attempts  to  repair  the  wrong 
he  has  done.  Taking  advantage 
of  a  mill  accident  by  which  he  is 
overwhelmed  with  work,  he  re- 
quests her  co-operation,  only  to 
realise  afterwards  that  he  has  ex- 
posed her  to  fresh  insult  by  his 
hasty  appeal.  Still,  the  intercourse 
involved  by  her  reluctant  assent 
he  considers  as  so  much  clear  gain, 
although  it  shows  him  more  and 
more  distinctly  the  results  of  his 
own  despicable  behaviour.  At 
length  Edith  is  hissed  in  public 
by  a  claque  led  by  the  wife-beater 
she  had  reproved,  while  Fane  is 
honoured  with  particular  applause, 
in  return  for  which  he  ungratefully 
goes  out  and  thrashes  the  ring- 
leader. But  even  the  sudden  and, 
as  it  must  have  appeared,  unac- 
countable conversion  of  her  oppo- 
nent to  her  cause  fails  to  cheer 
Edith,  and  brain  -  fever  sets  in. 
The  old  doctor,  stirred  by  a  late 
remorse,  installs  himself  as  her 


medical  attendant,  and  Fane,  who 
would  have  preferred  to  take  the 
post  himself,  is  compelled  to  listen 
to  a  stinging  review  of  his  conduct 
from  the  lips  of  Edith's  one  remain- 
ing friend.  No  repentance  on  his 
part  can  prevent  our  feeling  that 
this  moral  castigation  is  exceed- 
ingly well  deserved.  When  Edith 
has  recovered,  after  much  harrow- 
ing remorse  on  Fane's  part,  and 
he  has  discovered  that  he  is  in  love 
with  her,  he  recollects  the  trifling 
fact  that  he  is  engaged  to  another 
lady.  Edith  has  sufficient  strength 
of  mind,  we  are  glad  to  say,  to 
send  him  back  to  his  duty ;  but 
their  farewell  is  witnessed  by  the 
wife-beater,  who  has  now  good 
reason  for  hating  both  of  them, 
and  he  reveals  the  truth  to  the 
unfortunate  fiancee,  intending  to 
injure  Fane  by  breaking  off  his 
rich  marriage.  The  poor  girl,  who 
is  as  much  too  good  for  her  faith- 
less lover  as  is  Edith,  takes  it 
upon  herself,  in  the  most  delicate 
and  self-sacrificing  manner,  to  ter- 
minate the  engagement  without 
assigning  a  reason,  and  he  finds 
himself  free.  On  Edith's  prospect 
of  happiness  we  will  not  venture 
to  pronounce  an  opinion,  as  we 
have  no  means  of  judging  whether 
Fane's  conversion  was  so  thorough 
as  to  allow  of  her  continuing  to 
practise.  Since  even  the  old 
doctor's  hostility  was  disarmed 
sufficiently  to  induce  him  to  use 
his  influence  in  obtaining  her  a 
hospital  appointment,  we  may 
hope  that  her  husband  was  equally 
liberal. 

If  such  was  not  the  case,  it 
may  have  been  because  the  will 
on  the  lady's  part  was  wanting, 
for  trials  far  less  serious  than 
those  which  beset  poor  Edith  are 
enough  to  lead  the  heroine  of  '  Dr 
Hermione ' x  to  renounce  her  pro- 


1  Dr  Hermione.     By  the  Author  of  '  Lady  Bluebeard.' 


104 


The  Medical  Woman  in  Fiction. 


[July 


fession.  In  this  book,  which  has 
a  pleasant  idyllic  background  of 
English  woods  and  mountains, 
and  Nile  palm-groves  and  temples, 
"every  prospect  pleases,  and  only 
man  is  "  unsatisfactory.  The  story 
is  concerned  with  the  squabbles  of 
two  somewhat  ill-tempered  young 
ladies  over  the  possession  of  a 
very  unattractive,  not  to  say 
worthless,  youth,  while  a  far  su- 
perior gentleman  stands  meekly 
aside,  and  accepts  with  gratitude 
the  hand  of  the  unsuccessful  com- 
petitor in  the  struggle.  In  real 
life,  as  we  all  know,  it  is  custom- 
ary for  the  friends  of  an  engaged 
couple  to  fill  the  air  with  agonised 
inquiries  of  "  What  did  she  see  in 
him  ? "  and  vice  versa ;  but  in  fic- 
tion it  is  usual  to  make  some 
attempt  to  supply  the  answer.  So 
far  as  we  can  perceive,  Tom  has 
no  good  points  beyond  physical 
courage  and  the  negative  merit  of 
being  in  a  good  temper  when 
everything  goes  according  to  his 
liking ;  yet  Hermione  loses  all 
interest  in  life  for  his  sake,  and 
finally  follows  him  out  to  Egypt, 
where  she  shows  her  fitness  for 
her  duties  by  going  into  hysterics 
when  she  sees  him  wounded.  We 
are  given  to  understand  that  in 
studying  medicine  Hermione  was 
actuated  by  the  same  high  principle 
and  the  same  passion  for  philan- 
thropy that  filled  Edith  Komney, 
yet  she  has  allowed  herself,  before 
the  story  begins,  to  be  persuaded 
to  quit  the  work  she  was  doing  in 
London,  in  order  to  play  at  doctor- 
ing the  people  on  her  own  estate ; 
and  we  venture  to  suggest  that 
her  doleful  case  is  attributable 
rather  to  propinquity  and  to  the 
sudden  emptiness  of  her  life  than 
to  any  more  occult  reason.  She 
is  absolutely  ignorant  of  the  world, 
we  are  told  more  than  once,  and 
especially  of  men.  Yet  even  the 
average  girl  picks  up  a  certain 


knowledge  of  both,  if  only  from 
newspapers  and  novels  ;  and  that  a 
woman  of  unusual  capacity  should 
pass  through  the  whole  of  a 
medical  course,  and  that  in  Paris, 
and  work  largely  among  the  poor, 
both  in  London  and  in  the  country, 
and  still  remain  in  a  state  of  bliss- 
ful ignorance,  seems  to  argue  that 
she  went  about  with  her  eyes  shut. 
This  may  have  enabled  her  to  do 
her  work  "  like  a  nun,"  as  her 
guardian  says ;  but  it  appears  also 
to  have  acted  prejudicially  in 
preventing  the  development  of 
common-sense.  It  is  possible  that 
an  Arts  course,  pursued  entirely 
in  female  company,  might  produce 
this  claustral  effect ;  but  in  a  medi- 
cal school  the  unavoidable  inter- 
course with  the  male  students, 
who  are  not  as  a  rule,  we  think, 
so  entirely  cut  after  the  same 
pattern  as  our  author  considers, 
should  have  kept  man  from  being 
an  absolutely  unknown  animal. 
However,  since  Hermione  was 
what  she  was,  Dr  Jones  had  only 
himself  and  his  own  contradictory 
counsels  to  thank  for  her  defec- 
tion from  the  paths  of  science, 
which  he  had  urged  her  to  quit 
before  Tom  appeared  on  the  scene. 
How  little  she  valued  her  own 
profession  is  shown  by  her  allow- 
ing Tom  to  give  up  his  for  her 
sake,  although  it  would  seem  to 
most  people  that  to  remain  in  the 
army  was  his  only  chance  of  be- 
coming an  endurable  character. 
On  the  whole,  we  think,  the  medi- 
cal profession  did  not  sustain  an 
irremediable  loss  by  Hermione's 
desertion,  but  we  are  sorry  for 
Hermione  herself.  "A  proud  fool," 
she  may  have  been,  as  she  herself 
says,  and  ready  to  imagine  that 
she  could  live  without  love,  but  she 
scarcely  deserved  to  be  condemned 
to  marry  Tom. 

Very  different  indeed  from  Her- 
mione  is  the  medical  woman  in- 


1898.] 

troduced  to  us  by  an  anonymous 
American  author  as  'Helen  Brent, 
M.D.' 1  Helen  is  so  far  from  being 
a  bigoted  advocate  of  Women's 
Rights  as  to  incur  the  displeasure 
of  her  more  advanced  friends  by 
her  lukewarmness ;  but  her  views 
on  the  subject  of  her  career  would 
surprise  a  good  many  English  hus- 
bands. "  I  think  you  have  just  as 
much  right,"  she  says  to  her  lover, 
not  at  all  in  the  sense  in  which 
Hermione  would  have  used  the 
words,  "  to  ask  me  to  give  up  my 
profession  as  I  have  to  ask  you  to 
give  up  yours."  The  lover,  after 
the  manner  of  men,  fails  to  see 
the  logic  of  this.  He  is  a  success- 
ful lawyer,  and  knows  that  he 
would  be  obliged  to  leave  his  wife 
all  day,  and  also  to  take  flying 
journeys  to  distant  towns  at  fre- 
quent intervals,  but  he  expects 
her  to  find  full  occupation  and  in- 
terest in  managing  her  house  and 
in  watching  for  him.  That  she 
should  suggest  that,  in  view  of  the 
sacrifice  he  demands  from  her,  he 
should  be  prepared  to  give  up  his 
legal  practice,  and  go  into  some 
humdrum  business  that  would  per- 
mit him  to  devote  himself  to  his 
wife,  is  preposterous.  Helen,  on 
her  part,  is  ready  to  promise  to 
restrict  herself  to  consultation 
work  and  the  performance  of  opera- 
tions (a  generous  offer  that  fills 
him  with  fresh  horror),  and  to 
keep  a  careful  eye  on  the  house- 
hold management,  although  she 
will  not  herself  undertake  the 
cooking;  but  Harold  declines  to 
try  the  experiment,  and  prophesies 
as  he  leaves  her  that  she  will  never 
find  it  possible  to  reconcile  the 
duties  of  marriage  with  her  ambi- 
tions. After  this  it  is  only  poeti- 
cally just  that  his  theory  of  marriage 
as  a  state  in  which  all  the  duties 
are  on  the  wife's  side  should  be 


The  Medical  Woman  in  Fiction. 


105 


shown  to  be  a  failure  in  practice. 
The  beautiful  woman  whom  he 
marries  and  leaves  to  her  own 
devices,  while  he  follows  his  legal, 
municipal,  and  political  pursuits, 
seeks  consolation  elsewhere,  and 
Harold  is  brought  to  perceive  that 
if  the  husband's  time  and  thoughts 
are  to  be  exclusively  given  to  his 
own  business,  it  may  be  as  well 
for  the  wife  to  have  some  occupa- 
tion of  her  own  with  which  to  fill 
up  her  solitary  hours.  The  con- 
cession is  not  based  on  very  lofty 
grounds,  it  must  be  confessed ;  but 
perhaps  the  "keep  her  out  of  mis- 
chief "  theory  is  as  much  as  Harold 
could  be  expected  to  indorse,  since 
he  fails  altogether  to  appreciate 
Helen's  motives  either  in  adopting 
her  career  or  in  sticking  to  it. 

Another  American  lady  doctor, 
but  of  a  very  distinct  type,  ap- 
pears in  Mr  George  Knight's 
'  Winds  of  March.'  Bab  is  an 
artist  of  extraordinary  power,  at 
least  in  catching  likenesses,  a 
marvellous  musician,  a  captivat- 
ing singer,  and  —  quite  casually 
and  by  the  way  —  an  M.D.  of 
New  York.  She  performs  a  grave 
operation  at  a  moment's  notice, 
so  to  speak,  and  neglects  her  in- 
struments after  it  in  a  style  that 
we  are  professionally  informed  is 
little  better  than  criminal.  It  is 
of  a  piece  with  this  versatility  of 
talent  that  she  alternately  fascin- 
ates and  shocks,  allures  and  repels, 
a  young  man  whom  we  must  re- 
gretfully call  one  of  the  foulest- 
tongued  lovers  in  literature.  A 
clergyman,  a  university  man,  and 
presumably  a  gentleman,  he  uses 
language  to  Bab,  on  very  slight 
provocation,  which  is  equally  in- 
excusable and  unaccountable. 
The  subject  of  the  book  is  that 
old  theme  worked  out  by  Kingsley 
in  '  Hypatia ' — the  struggles  of  a 


Helen  Brent,  M.D.  :  A  Social  Study. 


106 


The  Medical  Woman  in  Fiction. 


[July 


would-be  ascetic  torn  two  ways  by 
the  world  and  the  spirit.  Some 
of  us  may  remember  the  days  in 
which  '  Hypatia '  was  gravely  pro- 
nounced to  be  an  immoral  book  : 
such  a  recollection  makes  us  won- 
der what  would  have  been  the 
judgment  of  the  critics  of  that 
epoch  upon  'The  Winds  of  March' 
and  others  of  its  class.  It  is  an 
old  axiom  that  in  depicting  char- 
acter the  novelist  should  allow  his 
personages  to  reveal  themselves, 
and  not  arrogate  to  himself  the 
office  of  describing  them ;  and  it 
would  be  well  if  Mr  Knight  and 
his  school  would  expand  the  advice 
to  cover  the  treatment  of  subject 
— especially  an  unpleasant  subject. 
If  you  feel  called  upon  to  write  a 
novel  with  a  purpose,  this  purpose 
involving  matters  not  usually  dis- 
cussed in  polite  society,  work  it 
out  by  means  of  your  characters 
if  you  will,  but  talk  about  it  as 
little  as  possible.  Otherwise,  your 
intentions  may  be  excellent,  but 
your  atmosphere  will  be  nasty. 
And  this,  we  are  bound  to  say,  is 
the  case  with  this  book,  which, 
apart  from  the  nauseousness  of  its 
tone,  has  many  excellent  scenes, 
among  which  we  may  name  that 
of  the  collapse  of  the  strike,  and 
the  stratagem  by  which  the  doctor 
obtains  Magnus's  release  from  the 
Franciscan  monastery.  Bab,  we 
think,  is  hardly  treated  through- 
out. When  she  begins  to  practise 
medicine  regularly  for  the  benefit 
of  the  poor  among  whom  she  set- 
tles, she  becomes  blind,  altogether 
by  chance  and  unexpectedly,  as  it 
were,  and  we  are  left  in  doubt 
whether  this  is  a  piece  of  cruel 
sarcasm  directed  at  her  healing 
powers,  or  merely  an  indiscretion 
on  the  part  of  the  author.  But 
to  allow  a  woman  of  some  sense 
and  experience  to  marry  a  man 


of  Magnus's  character,  who  had, 
moreover,  been  insane  for  some 
months,  as  it  appears,  is  a  libel  on 
the  female  sex  and  the  medical 
profession. 

It  is  a  curious  fact,  in  an  age 
which  may  yet  see  the  name  of  a 
distinguished  lady  doctor  inscribed 
on  the  bede-roll  of  our  Indian 
empire  beside  those  of  Dr  Bough- 
ton  and  Dr  William  Hamilton, 
that  there  is  only  one  book,  at 
least  so  far  as  our  reading  extends, 
which  attempts  to  deal  with  the 
career  of  a  medical  woman  in  the 
East.  In  saying  this,  we  do  not 
forget  that  magnificent  story,  the 
'  Naulahka,'  but  here  the  reader  is 
expressly  informed  that  Mr  Kip- 
ling's (or  should  it  be  Mr  Bales- 
tier's?)  heroine  was  prevented 
from  studying  medicine  by  the 
opposition  of  her  parents,  and 
obliged  to  content  herself  with  a 
nurse's  training — a  fact  which  has 
not  hindered  some  critics  from 
asserting  that  the  author  of 
'  Peace  with  Honour  '  *  has  tres- 
passed upon  ground  already  occu- 
pied. There  is  something  slightly 
reminiscent  of  the  Macedon  and 
Monmouth  style  of  comparison 
here,  and  if,  because  Mr  Kipling 
has  stationed  a  trained  nurse  in 
India,  it  is  to  be  unlawful  to  send 
a  lady  doctor  into  any  part  of  the 
wide  region  vaguely  termed  "  the 
East,"  we  shall  soon  have  a  de- 
mand in  literature  as  well  as  in 
politics  for  "effective  occupation" 
before  "  spheres  of  influence  "  are 
recognised.  Perhaps  the  objection 
is  based  upon  the  fact  that  Kate 
seems  to  have  performed  the  duties 
of  medical  officer  rather  than  of 
matron  in  the  hospital  at  Rhatore, 
until  she  met  with  the  singular 
and  discouraging  experience  which 
terminated  her  connection  with 
the  place.  The  theory  which  Mr 


1  Peace  with  Honour.     By  Sydney  C.  Grier. 


1898.] 


The  Medical  Woman  in  Fiction. 


107 


Kipling  exemplifies  in  this  inci- 
dent, and  which  he  has  also  de- 
veloped in  one  of  his  short  stories, 
is,  put  briefly,  that  natives  will 
not  repose  full  confidence  in  an  un- 
married woman.  We  have  been 
unable  to  obtain  any  confirmation 
of  the  idea  from  the  lady  mission- 
aries we  have  consulted,  and  al- 
though it  is  worked  .into  a  fine 
and  most  pathetic  climax  to  the 
story,  we  fear  that  the  balance  of 
testimony  is  on  the  other  side,  and 
that  the  general  feeling  is  rather 
that  exemplified  by  the  Ethiopian 
ladies  of  '  Peace  with  Honour,' 
namely,  envy  and  astonishment  at 
the  superior  happiness  of  the  un- 
married European  woman. 

The  two  last  books  on  our  list 
are  curiously  different  in  tone,  but 
they  are  united  by  the  conditions 
of  their  authorship,  since  in  each 
of  them,  under  the  form  of  fiction, 
a  medical  woman  gives  her  views 
on  her  own  profession.  The  plot 
of  '  Dr  Janet,  of  Harley  Street ' * 
need  not  detain  us,  since,  while  sen- 
sational enough  in  itself,  like  that  of 
1  Helen  Brent,'  its  chief  value  is  to 
provide  occasions  for  the  enuncia- 
tion of  the  views  of  the  heroine, 
with  whose  personality  we  are 
more  particularly  concerned.  Dr 
Janet  is  a  delightful  person,  al- 
though we  must  confess  to  a  linger- 
ing regret  that  she  wears  the 
divided  skirt.  We  have  an 
old-fashioned  preference,  perhaps 
merely  a  prejudice,  in  favour  of 
heroines  in  womanly  apparel. 
Surely,  too,  this  eccentricity  of 
attire  would  have  proved  a  barrier 
to  Dr  Janet's  attaining  the  lofty 
position  she  occupies — as  near  the 
top  of  the  tree,  we  suppose,  as 
the  lady  doctor  can  hope  to  climb 
in  the  present  generation.  She  is 
the  senior  physician  of  the  Min- 
erva Hospital  for  women,  dean  of 


the  Medical  School  attached  to  it, 
and  lecturer  at  various  colleges, 
and  besides  all  this,  she  has  a  large 
practice,  which  ranges  from  royalty 
to  the  poorest  of  the  poor.  Her 
chief  characteristic  physically  is, 
we  regret  to  say,  a  certain  ' '  stal- 
wart shapelessness,"  and  morally, 
a  habit  of  telling  unpleasant  truths 
in  a  deep  voice.  Edith  Romney 
and  Hermione  would  have  met 
with  little  favour  from  her,  for  she 
gives  it  as  her  opinion  that  good 
looks  in  a  lady  medical  student  are 
a  mistake  :  they  attract  men,  dis- 
tract her  own  attention  from  her 
work,  and  alienate  other  women. 
Nevertheless,  she  is  equally  op- 
posed to  the  mannish  woman,  and 
denounces  in  scathing  terms  the 
passion  for  short  hair  and  stiff 
shirt-fronts  which  is  apt  to  seize 
upon  the  girl  who  has  just  dis- 
covered that  "  life  is  earnest." 
Whether  the  subject  be  mercenary 
marriages  or  the  ill  effects  of  slum- 
life  on  the  physique  of  the  race, 
her  utterances  are  always  to  the 
point  and  absolutely  unrestrained 
by  fear  or  favour.  Phyllis,  the  little 
protegee  whom  she  pitchforks  in- 
to the  medical  profession  almost 
against  her  will,  is  a  study  of  quite  a 
fresh  type.  The  irregular  character 
of  her  early  education,  which  would 
have  seemed  to  most  people  an  in- 
superable bar  to  her  undertaking 
the  necessary  studies,  enables  her 
to  enter  on  her  training  with  a 
free  and  original  mind,  and  her 
almost  excessive  sensibility  teaches 
her  to  look  at  everything  from  a 
personal  rather  than  a  scientific 
point  of  view,  —  two  points  in 
which  the  earliest  lady  doctors  en- 
joyed an  undoubted  advantage  over 
their  more  "  machine-trained  "  suc- 
cessors of  the  present  day.  She  is 
designed  to  illustrate  Dr  Janet's 
theory  as  to  the  benefits  conferred 


Dr  Janet,  of  Harley  Street.     By  Arabella  Keuealy. 


108 


The  Medical  Woman  in  Fiction, 


by  the  employment  of  the  dis- 
tinctively feminine  characteristics 
in  medicine,  and  also  in  life ;  but 
it  is  acknowledged  that  these  fac- 
ulties are  at  a  discount  in  exami- 
nations. The  method  by  which 
poor  pretty  Phyllis,  about  whom 
centres  a  tragedy,  is  freed  from 
her  fiendish  persecutor  through  Dr 
Janet's  means,  is  highly  ingenious. 
In  Miss  Kenealy's  opinion,  it  is 
also  highly  moral  in  character,  but 
this  is  a  matter  on  which  a  very 
different  view  may  be  held. 

The  other  book  to  which  we 
have  alluded  describes  the  work  of 
a  medical  student  with  a  minute- 
ness which  has  hitherto  only  been 
approached  by  Dr  Oonan  Doyle. 
'  Mona  Maclean ' 1  enjoys  the  dis- 
tinction of  being  the  pet  aversion 
in  literature  of  the  male  medical 
student.  In  a  debate  which  took 
place  some  time  ago  on  the  ques- 
tion of  medical  women,  we  under- 
stand that  a  reference  to  the  book 
was  met  by  a  denunciation  of  it  as 
"  the  hysterical  work  of  a  senti- 
mental female,"  or  words  to  that 
effect.  The  reason  of  this  is  ob- 
vious. The  sight  of  women's 
names  in  honour-lists  has  become 
too  familiar  to  call  up  the  wrath 
it  once  evoked,  and  other  lady 
doctors  in  fiction  have  enjoyed 
good  looks  and  universal  talents ; 
but  from  the  earliest  days  of  the 
strife  at  Edinburgh,  fine  feelings, 
it  will  be  remembered,  have  been 
the  peculiar  prerogative  of  the 
male  student,  and  this  inalienable 
possession  has  now  been  calmly 
appropriated  by  the  encroaching 
sex.  Mona  is  to  the  young  medical 
woman  of  to-day  what  Tom  Thur- 
nall  was  to  the  young  medical  man 
forty  years  ago,  not  the  portrait  of 
an  individual  but  of  a  type,  em- 
bodying all  the  features  in  which 


[July 

each  individual  would  wish  to  ex- 
cel. She  is  not  the  typical  medical 
student,  by  any  means,  but  rather 
the  fine  fteur  of  modern  girlhood, 
with  its  wide  range  of  interests,  its 
hurnanitarianism,  its  dabbling  in 
many  philosophies,  its  heroisms, 
and  its  touches  of  youthful  cyni- 
cism. "  The  flow  of  one  Spirit " 
is  evident  in  all  her  life,  whether 
she  is  acting  as  demonstrator  in 
the  dissecting-room,  or  raising  the 
taste  of  the  Borrowness  servant- 
girls  in  matters  of  millinery. 
Ralph  Dudley  is  scarcely  worthy 
of  her ;  but  then  he  is  a  mere  man, 
and  not  even  a  type.  In  common 
with  the  heroes  of  most  of  the 
books  we  have  been  considering, 
he  is  somewhat  eclipsed  by  the 
radiance  of  the  heroine,  while  in 
order  to  exhibit  her  virtues  to  the 
utmost,  he  is  forced  to  display 
himself  in  a  decidedly  ungracious 
light.  This  is  his  misfortune,  but 
it  is  punished  as  a  fault,  and  we 
are  satisfied  that  he  deserves  the 
punishment.  He  is,  in  fact,  in  the 
case  of  the  male  characters  of  an 
excellent  little  work  which  was 
at  one  time  highly  esteemed  for 
reading  aloud  at  mothers'  meet- 
ings, and  bore  the  title,  '  Men  as 
they  are,  and  Women  as  they 
ought  to  be,'  the  invidiousness  of 
which  was  loudly  condemned  by 
any  fathers  who  were  treated  to  a 
re'sum^  of  the  contents  at  home. 

The  character  of  Mona  marks, 
as  clearly  as  does  the  Royal  re- 
cognition of  which  we  have  al- 
ready spoken,  the  close  of  the 
transition  period.  The  medical 
woman  has  vindicated  in  the  eyes 
of  others  her  right  to  live;  she 
has  now  to  justify  her  existence 
in  her  own.  There  is  time  for 
these  thoughts  when  the  noise  of 
the  struggle  has  died  down,  and 


1  Mona  Maclean,  Medical  Student.     By  Graham  Travers.     13th  edition,  1898. 


1898.] 


The  Medical  Woman  in  Fiction. 


109 


the  dust  of  conflict  has  cleared 
away,  and  Mona's  path  is  very 
smooth  compared  with  that  trod- 
den by  the  pioneers.  She  has  to 
go  to  rural  Borrowness  to  find  the 
notion  surviving  that  medical 
studies  were  a  disgrace  to  a 
woman,  for  even  her  autocratic 
and  delightful  Anglo-Indian  uncle 
accepts  the  lady  doctor  as  a  neces- 
sary evil,  and  does  not  scout  her 
profession  with  the  abhorrence 
still  shown  by  some  men,  however 
tolerant  in  theory,  when  it  invades 
the  charmed  circle  of  their  own 
relations.  We  have  seen  it  ob- 
jected that  Rachel  Simpson's 
anxiety  to  conceal  the  fact  of 
Mona's  being  a  medical  student 
is  unnatural,  and  that  she  would 
in  reality  have  been  proud  of  it ; 
but  those  who  argue  thus  can 
scarcely  be  acquainted  with  the 
intense — one  might  almost  say  the 
religious — conservatism  of  the  less 
advanced  portion  of  the  lower 
middle  class  in  a  country  district. 
That  the  feeling  has  changed  in 
most  places  we  are  well  aware, — 
wide  as  is  the  difference  between 
approving  the  despatch  of  lady 
doctors  to  India  (the  heathen 
being  charitably  supposed  to  be 
so  badly  off  that  nothing  could 
make  them  much  worse)  and  con- 
sulting a  lady  doctor  for  your  own 
ailments,  or  welcoming  her  as  one 
of  your  family  —  and  the  grand 
event  of  the  present  month  will 
doubtless  contribute  to  change  it 
further. 

In  view  of  this  change  of  senti- 
ment, then,  the  perils  before  the 


medical  woman  are  those  attend- 
ant upon  success.  It  is  difficult, 
in  piping  times  of  peace,  to  live 
up  to  the  level  of  the  simple  and 
warlike  virtues  of  your  ancestors  ; 
and  there  is  a  danger  that,  as  the 
fashion  of  employing  lady  doctors 
spreads,  the  ranks  may  be  re- 
cruited by  the  immature,  the  nar- 
row-minded, or  the  merely  busi- 
ness-like. It  is  against  this  danger 
that  the  whole  of  '  Mona  Maclean  ' 
is  a  protest.  Nothing  is  too  good 
for  the  medical  profession,  and, 
provided  that  the  right  stamp  of 
women  can  be  found  to  enter 
upon  it,  there  is  no  better  career 
for  them.  Mona  herself  is  some- 
what unduly  perfect,  of  course ; 
but  few  people  fail  through  aim- 
ing at  too  high  an  ideal.  And 
an  ideal  the  book  does  present — 
nay,  more,  an  inspiration.  It 
should  be  placed  officially  in  the 
hands  of  every  new  student  at 
that  School  of  Medicine  which 
Mona  would  scarcely  recognise  if 
she  returned  to  it  to-day,  to  teach 
her  what  her  life  may  be  made. 
Failing  that,  we  would  present  a 
copy  to  any  girl  we  knew  who 
was  entering  on  the  study  of 
medicine — not  with  an  injunction 
to  read  it,  for  such  a  recom- 
mendation on  the  part  of  an  old 
fogey  is  apt  to  have  adverse  con- 
sequences, but  in  the  confidence 
that,  once  begun,  the  book  itself 
would  carry  on  its  reader  to  the 
end,  there  to  show  her  what  is 
surely  the  ideal  medical  career — 
the  joint  exercise  of  their  profes- 
sion by  a  husband  and  wife. 


110 


"  The  Ring  "  at  Covent  Garden. 


[July 


"THE    KING"    AT    COVENT    GAKDEN. 


I.' — THE    MUSIC    OF    "  THE    RING. 


I  AVAS  permitted  to  print  in 
'  Maga's  '  pages  some  reminiscences 
of  Bayreuth  in  September  last. 
Now  that  Bayreuth  has  come  for  a 
brief  sojourn  to  London,  and  that 
its  worshippers  resident  in  this 
country  are  keeping  high  festival 
in  honour  of  "  the  Ring,"  I  am 
constrained  to  whisper  more,  yet 
other,  impressions  into  the  same 
sympathetic  ear.  That  such  later 
impressions  should  be  different  can 
surprise  nobody,  for  the  surround- 
ings and  the  atmosphere  are  so 
infinitely  contrasted. 

There  is  no  focussing  of  the 
morning  upon  the  feast  of  the 
afternoon  in  London ;  there  is  no 
common  life  that  welds  a  score  of 
nationalities  and  a  hundred  tem- 
peraments into  one.  In  penetrat- 
ing London  eastward  to  Covent 
Garden  till  the  increasing  darkness 
and  the  biting  east  wind  of  a  June 
day  chill  every  artistic  sense  and 
expectation,  there  is  none  of  the 
charm  that  enhances  the  delight- 
ful pilgrimage  from  Bayreuth  to 
the  region  of  pine  -  trees  where 
Wagner's  temple  stands  alone. 
Then  how  can  we,  in  the  midst  of 
a  world  throbbing  with  a  variety 
of  cares,  duties,  and  occupations, 
detach  ourselves  sufficiently,  on  an 
afternoon  in  mid-season,  to  give  up 
our  whole  souls  and  bodies  to  the 
complete  enjoyment  of  Wagner's 
masterpiece  ?  This  was  a  difficulty 
which  we  foresaw,  and  which  in- 
timidated not  a  few.  Yet  those  of 
us  who  faced  it  were,  upon  the 
whole,  well  rewarded  for  our  pains, 
although,  as  I  shall  hope  to  prove 
in  the  concluding  portion  of  this 
paper,  the  sins  of  omission  on  the 
part  of  the  English  syndicate  were 
many  and  great.  Still,  it  must  be 


frankly  admitted  that  against  the 
deplorable  stage-management  (no 
insignificant  feature  in  a  Wagner 
opera,  be  it  noted)  two  solid 
privileges  may  be  set.  In  the  first 
place,  I  never  remember  hearing 
the  vocal  score  of  "  the  Ring  "  so 
vocally  performed  as  it  was  during 
the  first  cycle,  which  is  the  cycle 
of  which  I  am  writing. 

Go  where  you  will  upon  the 
Continent  and  you  will  see  far 
better  stage-accessories,  you  will 
be  more  comfortable,  you  will  per- 
haps hear  as  good  an  orchestra  ; 
but  you  will  never — at  any  rate 
you  never  have  —  come  across  so 
excellent  a  group  of  vocalists 
and  musicians  as  those  who  have 
performed  in  the  first  "cycle"  at 
Covent  Garden.  It  is  true,  in- 
deed, that  Frau  Sucher's  Brunn- 
hilde  displayed  a  passion  un- 
dreamed of  in  Madame  Nordica's 
conception  of  the  part;  true,  too, 
that  Fraulein  Giillbransen  in  the 
closing  scene  of  the  Walkiire 
pierced  every  heart  in  the  audience 
at  Bayreuth  with  her  own  sorrow 
in  a  way  that  Marie  Brema  did 
not :  but  after  all  said  and  done, 
if  to  hear  music  as  Wagner  wrote 
it  for  the  voice  was  the  dream  of 
any  in  the  audience,  they  have 
heard  that  music  now  in  its 
perfection. 

In  the  second  place,  we  have 
been  privileged  to  see  Mottl  con- 
duct and  to  hear  his  results.  I 
plead  guilty  to  no  exaggeration 
when  I  say  that  he  has  galvanised 
the  Covent  Garden  orchestra  into  a 
condition  of  existence  little  short 
of  inspired.  He  has  roused  them 
as  a  valiant  general  can  rouse  his 
followers  in  battle,  to  go  anywhere 
and  to  do  anything.  Let  me  hum- 


1898.] 


The.  Ring  "  at  Covent  Garden, 


111 


bly  hope  that  the  spirit  which  he 
has  breathed  will  not  immediately 
vanish  with  him,  but  will  hover 
over  and  inspire  the  Mancinellis 
and  the  Randeggers  who  may  suc- 
ceed him. 

Of  the  de  Reszke  brothers  I 
cannot  say  very  much.  Up  to 
the  present  M.  Jean  has  only 
appeared  in  Siegfried,  displaying 
in  that  part  a  lack  of  "  go  "  and  a 
tendency  to  banalite  of  exposition 
which  is  new  to  him,  and  which 
suits  him  ill.  Criticism  there  has 
been  in  plenty  upon  the  surprising 
quantity  of  "  cuts "  that  were  in 
store  for  us  in  the  first  perform- 
ance of  '  Siegfried ' ;  but  these 
charges  of  "breach  of  faith"  as 
between  management  and  public 
need  not  concern  us  here.  Still, 
we  have  a  right,  if  permitting  the 
text  to  be  curtailed,  to  demand  at 
least  that  the  music  shall  not  be 
mutilated,  and  that  the  story  shall 
not  be  rendered  unintelligible. 
Yet  such  as  the  de  Reszkes  gave 
us  was  of  the  best,  vocally.  I  am 
not,  and  never  shall  be,  carried 
away  by  M.  Jean's  conception  of 
Siegfried  as  I  was  by  Burgstaller's. 
The  former  sacrifices  so  much 
action  to  vocalisation  that  in  the 
great  forging  -  song  one  could 
almost,  with  closed  eyes,  fancy 
that  one  was  listening  to  a  sing- 
ing lesson ;  whereas  the  latter, 
though  vocally  imperfect,  burst 
in  upon  the  scene  so  boyishly  with 
his  captive  bear,  bullies  poor  Mime 
with  such  evident  delight,  and 
finally  forges  his  sword  so  care- 
lessly and  joyously,  that  the  cur- 
tain falls  before  an  audience  re- 
juvenated by  the  contagion  of  the 
young  hero's  strength.  There  was 
something  too  polished,  as  I 


thought,  in  M.  Edouard  de 
Reszke's  Wanderer.  The  voice 
here  again  was' grand  enough,  but 
the  manner  was  rather  French. 
Those  who  know  their  Sagas  will 
see  where  the  character  of  "Der 
Wanderer  "  loses  strength  by  such 
a  conception;  and  Madame  Saville 
(being  of  the  same  school  of  polite 
acting)  missed  something  also,  in 
representing  Gutrune. 

I  think  I  have  now  particular- 
ised enough  to  show  to  those  who 
could  not  witness  the  performances 
what  rare  pleasures  will  attend 
them  in  the  shape  of  new  beauties  in 
the  music  as  expounded  by  the  first- 
class  vocalists  included  in  the  caste. 
Enough  too  has  been  said  to  make 
it  worth  while  to  note  the  entire 
change  of  front  that  has  taken 
place  since  the  day  when  it  was  a 
musical  truism  to  say  that  to  sing 
Wagner  spelt  ruin  to  the  voice. 
It  was  sufficient  for  M.  Jean  de 
Reszke"  to  take  up  the  role  of 
Walther  in  the  Meistersinger,  and 
then  of  Siegmund  in  the  Walkure, 
for  this  truism  to  be  questioned, 
until  now  we  find  all  the  greatest 
singers  of  Europe  collected  to  sing 
Wagner  in  concert  at  Covent 
Garden. 

Having  spoken  thus  briefly  of 
the  musical  side  of  our  festival, 
I  am  bound  in  common  honesty 
to  express  my  views  upon  those 
remaining  artistic  features  which 
go  to  make  up  a  complete  success. 
And  if  in  so  doing  I  should  of- 
fend anybody,  I  am  sorry  in  anti- 
cipation ;  but  I  write  in  the  hope 
that  some  attention  may  be  paid 
to  shortcomings  of  the  gravest 
kind — too  little  notice  of  which 
has  been  taken  in  the  criticisms  of 
the  London  press. 


ii. — THE  "SETTING"  OP  "THE  RING." 

"  I  give  thee  sixpence  ! — I  will  see     it  appears  to  some,  the  authorities 
thee  damned  first."     In  this  spirit,     have  approached  the  task  of  "  set- 


112 


"  The  Ring  "  at  Covent  Garden. 


[July 


ting "  the  Nibelungen  Ring  as  it 
should  be  set,  as  Wagnev  required, 
and  as  Art  demands.  It  is  a 
matter  of  complete  indifference 
to  me  who  the  authorities  are ; 
for  to  say  that  you  cannot  expect 
yearly  tenants  to  "  stage "  so  im- 
portant a  group  of  operas  decently, 
is  to  trifle  with  the  point  and  with 
the  public.  Yet  such  is  the  answer 
invariably  given  when  the  com- 
plaint is  heard  :  c'est  la  raison, 
mais  ce  n'est  pas  I'excuse.  I  am 
perfectly  aware  that,  in  calling 
serious  attention  to  the  grave  im- 
perfections that  abound  on  the 
Covent  Garden  stage  in  this  con- 
nection, I  am  open  to  two  horrible 
charges :  first,  of  being  in  the 
minority — since  a  fine  spirit  of  un- 
compromising adulation  has  over- 
powered the  daily  press,  with  the 
honourable  exception  of  the  '  Daily 
Chronicle.'  Secondly,  I  shall  be 
told  that  with  so  gorgeous  a  per- 
formance at  my  door,  I  am  un- 
generous in  carping  at  a  few 
trifling  stage  defects.  To  the 
latter  charge  my  answer  is  a  plain 
one  —  namely,  that  Wagner  set 
almost  as  much  store  by  the  stage 
setting  of  his  operas  as  he  did  by 
the  words  and  the  music.  You 
have  only  got  to  go  to  Bayreuth 
to  prove  this  :  you  have  but  to 
hear  from  the  lips  of  his  old  col- 
leagues the  story  of  his  minute 
examination  of  every  detail  of 
stage  property,  every  item  of 
scenic  effect.  I  cannot  help  won- 
dering what  Wagner  would  have 
thought,  had  he  been  sitting  in 
the  front  for  these  performances, 
at  seeing  the  curtain,  ugly  enough 
in  all  conscience,  rise  upon  a  still 
uglier  proscenium  —  representing 
scarlet-and-gold  draperies  in  folds, 
whose  incongruity  with  all  the 
scenery  that  is  rammed  relent- 
lessly up  against  it  is  a  disgrace 
to  the  Royal  Opera  House  every 
night  of  the  season.  This  is  the 


first  of  tae  eyesores  to  which  I 
would  respectfully  direct  the  at- 
tention of  the  "  yearly  tenants," 
or  the  impoverished  landlord.  Let 
me  further  urge,  in  passing,  that, 
although  light  and  air  are  both 
indispensable  to  human  existence, 
they  are  only  requisite  at  the  right 
time.  To  make  my  meaning  clear 
to  the  syndicate :  air  is  necessary 
in  the  auditorium  at  Covent  Gar- 
den not  so  much  during  the  in- 
tervals when  the  house  is  empty 
as  during  the  performances  when 
the  house  is  full ;  but  with  light 
let  me  explain  that  the  reverse  is 
the  case.  We  require  light  during 
the  entr'actes  as  much  as  to  see 
others  as  to  be  seen  ourselves ; 
but  we  have  no  possible  use  for 
those  naked  lamps  which  blaze 
upon  us  during  the  performance 
through  the  door  leading  into  the 
stalls  from  the  corridors  right  and 
left.  I  recommend,  therefore,  to 
those  whom  it  may  concern,  a  short 
study  of  efficient  ventilation  and 
convenient  lighting.  It  is  absurd 
to  suggest  that  such  elementary 
alterations  as  I  have  indicated 
could  not  be  carried  out  even  by 
yearly  tenants ;  indeed  I  am  more 
than  inclined  to  suppose  that  the 
landlord  himself  would  effect  them, 
if  properly  approached. 

Now  for  the  scenery — the  instru- 
ment which  is  to  enchant  our  eyes 
even  as  the  music  and  the  story 
absorb  our  minds,  until,  leaving  all 
our  cares  behind,  we  think  our- 
selves transported  into  the  fairy 
company  of  Rhineland.  The  open- 
ing scene  of  "  Das  Rheingold," 
disfigured  of  course  by  the  scarlet- 
and-gold  monster  of  a  curtain,  is  a 
well-conceived  piece  of  work.  It 
is  far  less  rocky  than  the  Bayreuth 
setting,  over  which  Alberich  really 
did  scramble  and  slip, — and  that 
after  all  is  the  idea  which  Wagner's 
music  and  libretto  were  intended 
to  convey ;  but  it  is  severely  tried 


1898.] 


"  The  Ring  "  at  Covent  Garden. 


113 


when  we  observe  the  avaricious 
dwarf,  in  his  frantic  greed  to  grasp 
the  gold  from  the  summit,  noisily 
tramping  up  and  down  a  board 
behind  a  rock — and  finally  hoisted 
to  the  heights  in  an  ascenseur ! 
Yet  there  must  be  something 
very  attractive  in  this  particular 
scenery,  for  I  observed  that  the 
front  wave  remained  upon  the 
stage,  stretching  from  one  side  to 
the  other,  during  the  whole  per- 
formance. It  was  particularly 
appreciated  by  the  Nibelungs  in 
the  bowels  of  the  earth,  who  had 
never  seen  water  before  !  But  it 
had  its  drawback?  too,  for  it  cut  off 
from  the  sight  of  the  audience 
every  figure  below  the  knee,  so  that 
not  one  foot  was  seen  on  the 
ground  from  start  to  finish  of  the 
Opera.  I  qualify  the  above  state- 
ment in  favour  of  an  Oxford  shoe 
and  a  dress  trouser  which  was 
thrust  out  from  the  prompters' 
side  at  one  moment,  for  no  appar- 
ent reason. 

Passing  the  second  scene,  which 
is  excellent,  we  are  supposed  then 
to  journey  underground  with 
Wotan  to  a  subterranean  cavern. 
At  Bayreuth  a  mysterious  effect 
of  gloom  and  ever-increasing  dark- 
ness is  produced  as  the  god  de- 
scends, by  dexterous  treatment  of 
gauzes  and  backgrounds,  until  the 
incessant  sound  of  hammering 
brings  us  to  Alberich's  cave.  At 
Covent  Garden  the  important 
music  of  this  descent  is  assisted 
by  a  strangely  painted  canvas, 
representing  nothing  very  much, 
and  far  from  steady  as  it  hangs. 
At  the  right  moment  up  goes  the 
canvas,  and  the  funniest  scene  is 
presented — we  know  it  is  under- 
ground by  the  darkness,  but  that 
same  feature  precludes  us  from 
ascertaining  what  are  the  two 
patches  of  light  at  the  back  of 
the  stage.  They  are  shaped  and 
painted  like  sides  of  streaky  bacon, 

VOL.   CLXIV. NO.   DCCCCXCIII. 


and  behind  them  a  light  fitfully 
flickers  :  some  thought  it  was  the 
sign  of  a  celebrated  eating-house. 
I  cannot  believe,  though  I  can 
excuse  them.  In  the  last  scene, 
where  Freia  is  released  from  the 
giants  on  condition  that  they 
shall  receive  "as  much  gold  as 
shall  hide  the  heavenly  maiden 
from  our  sight,"  a  ludicrous  effect 
was  produced  by  the  evident  lack 
of  plate  in  the  establishment. 
There  were,  it  is  true,  a  few  ewers 
and  chalices  strung  on  to  the 
poles  behind  which  this  celestial 
damsel  stood ;  but  they  hid  her 
from  nobody  in  the  audience, 
whilst  Fasolt  appeared  so  dis- 
gusted at  the  scanty  booty  that 
he  retired  prematurely  from  the 
competition.  And  this  was  very 
disconcerting  for  Fafner,  who 
should  have  felled  Fasolt  to  the 
earth,  but  had  to  be  contented 
with  three  chancy  and  rhythmical 
prods  at  a  rock,  both  his  eyes 
being  riveted  on  the  conductor ! 
The  close  of  this  Opera  was  her- 
alded by  the  independent  falling 
of  badly  hung  and  very  dirty-look- 
ing gauzes  to  represent  mists,  I 
believe;  and  after  their  dispersal 
we  were  privileged  to  gaze  upon  a 
substantial-looking  bridge,  gaudily 
painted  in  the  French  national 
colours  (which  would  have  de- 
lighted Wagner!),  and  which  would 
have  carried  away  a  procession  of 
elephants,  but  not  an  artistic 
audience  who  expected  a  rainbow. 
"Die  Walkiire"  was  in  every 
way  a  better  and  more  worthy 
performance  ;  yet  here  again  there 
is  a  great  deal  for  Covent  Garden 
to  learn  from  the  little  provincial 
theatre  at  Bayreuth.  The  first 
scene  was  exquisitely  painted,  and 
the  fresh  spring  landscape  in  the 
background  showed  what  care  and 
attention  can  do  when  a  manage- 
ment chooses.  I  only  stop  to 
inquire  here  why  no  gleam  of 
H 


114 


"  The  Ring  "  at  Covant  Garden. 


[July 


light  was  flashed  upon  the  sword 
as  Siegmund  wrenched  it  from 
the  tree?  for  what  oscurred  in 
consequence  was  this :  standing 
before  a  brown  tree-trunk  a  brown, 
figure  stretched  out  a  brown  arm 
holding  a  brown  something ;  and 
those  who  did  not  know  the  story 
could  not  tell  what  that  thing 
was,  and  thus  missed  a  great 
dramatic  climax.  In  the  second 
Act  there  seems  to  have  been  no 
reason  for  bringing  Fricka  slink- 
ing on  from  the  wings  instead  of 
following  Wagner's  instructions 
and  sending  her  down  the  ravine 
"in  a  car  drawn  by  two  rams." 
Perhaps  rams  are  very  expensive 
just  now,  but  I  would  suggest 
that  money  could  be  found  by 
using  a  few  less  clouds,  that  the 
audience  might  witness  the  fight 
between  Hunding  and  Siegmund, 
which  was  totally  eclipsed;  and, 
by  the  bye,  the  profusion  of 
clouds  seems  to  have  quite  over- 
come the  scene  -  shifters,  who 
dropped  the  wrong  set  on  one 
occasion  and  had  to  be  reminded 
of  their  error  through  the  soft 
medium  of  three  loud  whistles  ! 

"Siegfried"  has  been  the  least 
worthy  performance  given,  and 
this  was  due  more,  perhaps,  to 
the  irregularities  of  the  de  Reszke 
brothers  than  to  the  scenic  treat- 
ment to  which  this  part  of  my 
paper  is  more  especially  addressed. 
It  is  hard  to  understand  why  M. 
Jean  de  Heszke  now  wears  a  mou- 
stache and  beard  in  his  impersona- 
tion of  Siegfried ;  it  does  not  assist 
the  imagination  to  conceive  the 
splendid  boy -hero  of  Wagner's 
drama,  though  the  artist's  con- 
ception of  the  part  in  other  re- 
spects was  magnificent,  until  the 
"operatic"  incident  in  the  love 
duet.  But  I  would  humbly  sub- 
mit, in  passing,  that  Covent  Garden 
should  not  add  to  the  dangers 
that  threaten  Siegfried  alike  from 


man  and  beast.  Let  us,  for  in- 
stance, provide  bulrushes  with  soft 
heads — bulrushes  that  do  not  drop 
on  the  ground  with  a  noise  like 
boots ;  for  such  a  clatter  accom- 
panied the  falling  of  the  bulrush 
head  as  Siegfried  cut  it,  that  every 
one  was  thankful  it  did  not  fall  on 
his  foot.  Passing  to  the  third  Act, 
it  is  only  right  to  congratulate  the 
authorities  that  the  everlasting 
hills  did  not  quite  collapse  when 
some  person  in  the  wings  shut  the 
rock  behind  Erda ;  they  seemed 
tottering  to  their  fall.  Also  let  us 
thank  them  for  showing  us  in 
Wotan's  broken  staff  an  electric 
spark,  which,  after  a  moment's 
coaxing,  can  burn  and  hiss  for 
several  seconds,  filling  the  house 
with  a  delicious  sulphuric  per- 
fume. Of  the  rocks  bathed  in  tire, 
of  the  "  Flammen  Meere,"  and  of 
the  subsequent  curtain  of  fire,  so  to 
speak,  which  divides  the  two  scenes 
of  Act  III.,  I  cannot  write,  because 
they  were  non-existent.  True,  the 
sky  did  faintly  blush  for  a  moment 
(no  wonder),  and  from  the  stage  a 
certain  amount  of  steam  pro- 
ceeded, as  from  two  asthma 
kettles,  and  a  weird  gauze  was 
dropped  with  curious  jla,  trie-coloured 
growths  painted  on  it,  but  that  was 
all  we  were  afforded.  This  spec- 
tacle preceded  a  very  pretty  land- 
scape in  which  Siegfried  discovered 
Briinnhilde  asleep,  and  then  pro- 
ceeded with  her  to  sing  the  pas- 
sionate love  duet  at  the  footlights, 
"recalling  the  delicious  (operatic) 
blends  of  fifty  years  ago." 

Finally,  the  '  Gocterdacnmer- 
ung ' :  and  if  this  opera  was  to 
proclaim  the  twilight  of  the  gods, 
it  certainly  did  proclaim  the 
debacle  of  the  Covent  Garden 
stage  arrangements.  For,  al- 
though the  set  scenes  were  all 
of  them  quite  beautiful,  careless 
arrangement  and  incessant  bung- 
ling reduced  the  whole  perfor- 


1898.] 


'•  The  Ring"  at  Covant  Garden. 


115 


mance  to  a  farce.  It  is  hardly 
worth  while  to  go  through  the 
various  defects  seriatim — it  would 
take  too  long.  I  will  only  note 
the  rigid  white  canvas  which  fell 
at  intervals  (to  represent  mist), 
whose  colour  reminded  one  of  a 
thick  London  fog ;  the  back  cloth 
in  the  first  Act,  on  which  were 
plainly  sketched  the  inhabitants 
of  Valhalla,  who  were  to  be  a 
"transparency"  in  the  last  Act; 
the  magnificent  bronze  shield  hang- 
ing in  the  halls  of  the  Gibichungen, 
which  flapped  in  the  breeze  like  a 
kite ;  the  ridiculous  muddle  over 
the  flight  of  the  ravens  ;  the  horse 
who  had  been  trained  not  to  face 
the  fire.  Among  many  faults  these 
glared  the  most ;  but  in  the  last 
Act,  as  a  crowning  disaster,  the  roof 
of  the  great  hall  slowly  descended 
several  times  on  the  crowd,  and  was 


at  intervals  raised  again  during 
the  progress  of  the  Act  until  the 
great  catastrophe  was  intended : 
then,  of  course,  the  building  was 
firm  as  a  rock,  and  only  after  con- 
siderable persuasion  could  it  be 
induced  to  sink  noiselessly  to 
earth. 

I  can  only  say  that  the  perfor- 
mance ended  in  utter  confusion, 
and  that  the  disappointment  of 
artists  and  audience  was  universal. 
For  better  or  for  worse,  before  this 
paper  sees  the  light  of  publicity 
two  more  "cycles"  are  to  be  per- 
formed. Let  me  recommend  in 
anticipation  a  little  less  parsimony 
and  a  good  deal  more  rehearsal, 
to  make  the  stage  more  worthy  of 
the  great  works  which  grace  it, 
and  the  artists  less  suspicious  of 
co-operating  with  a  London  syn- 
dicate. 

IAN  MALCOLM. 


116 


A  Soldier  of  Fortune  in  the  Must. 


[July 


A    SOLDIER    OP    FORTUNE    IN    THE    EAST. 


SOME  twenty  years  ago,  in  the 
military  cemetery  at  Sialkot,  there 
was  laid  to  rest  at  the  great  age  of 
ninety-two  the  body  of  one  Alex- 
ander Gardner,  formerly  colonel 
of  artillery  in  the  army  of  the 
famous  Maharaja  Ranjit  Singh. 
The  veteran's  death  occasioned  no 
tributes  from  a  grateful  country, 
for  country,  properly  speaking,  he 
had  none ;  and  his  name  has 
hitherto  passed  unrecorded  save 
for  brief  mention  by  a  few  geograph- 
ical and  military  experts.  This 
fate,  the  justice  of  which  we  do 
not  seek  to  impugn,  is  but  the 
natural  penalty  attaching  to  the 
career  of  a  soldier  of  fortune,  who 
must  needs  "change  his  service  as 
he  would  his  shirt." 

A  strange  and  fitting  parallel  to 
the  vicissitudes  that  marked  the 
life  of  Colonel  Gardner  is  found  in 
the  circumstances  that  have  post- 
poned till  now  the  publication  of 
this  unique  autobiography.1  A 
synopsis  of  a  portion  of  it  pub- 
lished in  his  own  lifetime  fared  so 
badly  at  the  hands  of  its  editor 
and  native  printers,  that  its  only 
result  was  to  throw  discredit  on 
the  veracity  of  its  author  ;  another 
large  and  valuable  portion  of  his 
notes  perished  with  Sir  Alexander 
Burnes  at  Kabul ;  while  the  editing 
of  the  memoirs,  which  Major  Pearse 
has  at  last  happily  rescued  from 
oblivion,  was  undertaken  in  succes- 
sion by  no  fewer  than  three  emin- 
ent authorities  who  died  without 
completing  their  task.  Few  books 
would  seem  worthy  of  so  romantic 
a  history,  bub  the  life  of  Gardner 
is  no  ordinary  book.  "  The  story 
of  Dugald  Dalgetty,"  said  Sir 


Henry  Durand,  "  is  nothing  to 
this  as  it  will  be  seen  in  the  light 
of  times  to  come,"  and  the  verdict 
is  as  true  as  the  comparison  sug- 
gested is  inadequate.  There  is  a 
wide  gulf  between  the  mercenary 
and  the  true  soldier  of  fortune ; 
and  of  the  latter  it  would  be  dim- 
cult  to  find  a  truer  type  than  the 
hero  of  this  memoir,  whose  whole 
life  was  one  of  storm  and  stress, 
and  who  steered  his  way  through 
an  incredible  maze  of  danger  and 
intrigue  with  a  stout  heart  and  an 
unshaken  nerve.  Gardner  pur- 
sued adventure  as  hotly  as  most 
men  pursue  wealth  or  fame,  and 
oet'ore  the  record  of  his  adventures 
the  substance  of  most  historical 
romances  grows  pale. 

Born  in  1785  by  the  shores  of 
Lake  Superior,  Alex.  Haughton 
Gardner  was  the  son  of  a  Scot- 
tish surgeon,  whose  father  emi- 
grated to  Canada  in  the  middle 
of  last  century.  After  the  War 
of  Independence,  in  which  he  took 
an  active  part,  being  on  intimate 
terms  with  Washington  and  La- 
fayette, DC  Gardner  settled  in 
Mexico,  and  married  the  daughter 
of  an  Englishman  named  Haughton, 
whose  wife  was  of  Spanish  descent, 
and  whose  father,  an  English 
olficer,  lost  his  life  in  African 
exploration.  A  more  fitting  pedi- 
gree than  this  one  could  hardly 
imagine  ;  and  it  is  small  stretch  of 
fancy  to  trace  the  results  of  his 
Scoto-Spanish  descent  in  Gardner's 
career,  with  its  strange  blend- 
ing of  caucion  and  adventure, 
of  indomitable  perseverance  and 
courage,  and  wellnigh  quixotic 
romance.  Till  he  was  twelve  years 


1  Colonel  Alexander  Gardner  ;  Soldier  and  Traveller.      Edited  by  Major  Hugh 
Pearse.     Edinburgh  and  London  :  William  Blackwood  &  Sons.     1898. 


1898.] 


A  Soldier  of  Fortune  in  the  East. 


117 


of  age  the  boy  was  educated  at 
home,  his  father  teaching  him 
classics,  while  from  his  mother 
he  learned  Spanish,  French,  and 
Italian.  In  the  matter  of  religion 
the  household  was  divided,  the  three 
sons  being  brought  up  as  Unitar- 
ians, while  the  three  daughters 
embraced  the  Roman  Catholicism 
of  their  mother,  a  fact  destined 
to  have  no  little  influence  on  the 
life  of  our  hero,  for  at  the  Catholic 
seminary  of  St  Xavier,  the  petty 
tyranny  he  was  subjected  to  by 
teachers  and  schoolfellows  fostered 
in  him  that  spirit  of  sturdy  self- 
reliance  which  in  after-years  sup- 
ported him  through  a  life  of 
solitary  and  friendless  adventure. 
One  day,  while  waiting  in  the 
Principal's  library  to  be  flogged, 
the  boy  chanced  on  a  book  of 
adventure  among  the  American 
Indians,  and  "  snatched  a  fearful 
joy"  that  awakened  in  him  the 
slumbering  passion  for  romance. 
Gardner  stole  the  book  which  the 
Jesuit  father  refused,  and,  in  his 
own  words,  "  from  this  early 
period  of  life  the  notion  of  being 
a  traveller  and  adventurer,  and 
of  somehow  and  somewhere  carv- 
ing out  a  career  for  myself,  was 
the  maggot  of  my  brain." 

In  1807,  for  reasons  not  fully 
known,  Gardner,  now  in  his  twenty- 
second  year,  proceeded  to  Ireland, 
where,  in  addition  to  the  brogue, 
his  proficiency  in  which  subse- 
quently gained  him  unjustly  the 
reputation  of  being  a  deserter 
from  the  British  army,  he  acquired 
during  the  next  five  years  a  con- 
siderable knowledge  of  naval  and 
military  matters.  Next  we  hear 
of  him  in  Spain,  where  he  had 
gone  to  realise  his  mother's  pro- 
perty. He  now  decided  to  join 
one  of  his  brothers,  an  engineer 
at  Astrakhan  in  the  employ  of 
the  Russian  Government,  and 
early  in  1813  set  out  for  Cairo 


in  company  with  an  accomplished 
Jesuit,  from  whom  he  acquired 
a  knowledge  of  Persian  and  Turk- 
ish that  was  to  stand  him  in 
good  stead  during  the  years  to 
come.  At  Astrakhan  he  spent 
some  years  studying  mineralogy, 
with  a  view  to  entering  the  Rus- 
sian service ;  but  his  brother's 
death  in  1817,  and  the  cupidity 
of  the  Russians,  who  seized  his 
brother's  effect?,  finally  determined 
his  career.  A  daring  Frenchman 
whom  he  met  at  Cairo  had  de- 
clared his  intention  of  making 
his  way  to  the  Punjab  to  enter 
the  service  of  Ranjit  Singh,  and 
Gardner  now  resolved  to  join  him 
by  forcing  his  way  through  Persia 
and  Afghanistan.  His  plans,  how- 
ever, were  upset  by  an  illness 
that  overtook  him  at  Herat,  and 
twelve  years  of  ceaseless  adventure 
in  Central  Asia  were  destined  to 
intervene  before  he  entered  into 
the  service  of  the  great  Sikh  ruler 
at  Lahore. 

Leaving  Herat  with  a  caravan 
of  some  hundred  persons,  Gardner 
crossed  the  Western  Hindu  Kush 
and  entered  the  unfrequented  land 
of  the  Hazaras.  The  sturdy  hills- 
men  proved  friendly ;  but  their 
code  of  hospitality  had  its  curious 
side,  a  company  of  travellers  being 
held  lawful  spoil  until  it  reached 
the  sacred  precincts  of  a  mosque. 
They  prayed  devoutly  before  setting 
out  to  rob  and  kill,  this  "grace 
before  meat "  being  accounted  com- 
plete absolution  for  what  bloodshed 
might  follow.  Escorted  in  safety 
by  one  mullah  or  fakir  after 
another,  Gardner,  disguised  as  an 
Arabian,  and  passing  under  the 
name  of  Arb  Shah,  pushed  north- 
wards to  Merv,  after  which  he 
joined  a  larger  caravan  bound  for 
Khiva.  When  within  a  few  days 
of  his  destination,  he  again  fell 
dangerously  ill,  and,  to  make 
matters  worse,  the  party  was  at- 


118 


A  Soldier  of  Fortune  in  the  East. 


[July 


tacked  and  robbed  by  a  band  of  400 
Turkoman  marauders.  The  rumour 
went  forth  that  Gardner  was  a  Rus- 
sian spy,  and  the  Khan  of  Khiva 
sent  a  deputation  to  investigate  the 
charge,  whereupon  a  curious  inter- 
view took  place,  Urd  Khan,  the 
kindly  leader  of  the  caravan, 
hovering  round  the  invalid's  couch 
all  the  time  of  the  inquiry,  prim- 
ing him  with  incessant  gruels  : — 

"  I  told  them  the  truth — that  I  was 
an  American.  They  were  suspicious. 
One  of  them,  a  very  enlightened 
man,  thought  to  pose  me  by  a  con- 
clusive and  abstruse  geographical 
question,  '  Could  I  go  by  land  from 
America  to  England  ? '  I  promptly 
answered,  '  No  ! '  at  which,  as  much 
delighted  at  his  own  superior  learn- 
ing as  at  my  reply,  he  declared  that 
he  was  convinced.  Americans  they 
considered  'Yagistanis'  or  Indepen- 
dents." 

Gardner  had  relied  on  receiving 
substantial  help  at  Khiva  from  a 
former  companion  named  Sturzky, 
who  had  left  him  to  go  to  Khok- 
and,  where  he  believed  that  ample 
riches  awaited  him.  The  unfor- 
tunate German,  however,  was  in 
even  worse  plight  than  Gardner 
himself  : — 

"I  wrote  to  Khokand  to  M. 
Sturzky,  who  wrote  me  in  reply  a 
doleful  account  of  himself.  The 
Khiva  people  had  stripped  him  of 
everything,  and  but  for  the  interces- 
sion of  a  holy  travelling  khoja  of 
great  sanctity,  he  would  have  been 
murdered.  He  subsequently  managed 
to  join  me  on  my  way  to  Astrakhan, 
after  many  adventures.  He  was  half- 
naked,  thin,  hungry,  and  ill,  but  still 
in  good  spirits.  The  hapless  man  had 
bought  his  escape  from  Khiva  at  the 
price  of  circumcision  in  a  public  cere- 
monial by  .the  fanatical  khoja,  who 
deemed  the  wrath  of  Heaven  inevi- 
table had  he  omitted  to  avail  himself 
of  this  happy  opportunity  of  securing 
the  conversion  of  an  infidel." 

Accordingly    this    journey    re- 


sulted in  nothing  for  our  travel- 
ler, and  he  retraced  his  steps  to 
Astrakhan,  where  he  lived  for  a 
year  or  two  on  the  property  re- 
funded him  by  the  Russian  Gov- 
ernment. But  in  1823  the  travel- 
hunger  seized  him  anew,  and  he 
embarked  once  more  on  the  Cas- 
pian, thence  crossing  the  steppes 
to  the  Aral  Sea. 

Barely  escaping  shipwreck,  Gard- 
ner made  for  Ura-tube,  where  he 
was  joined  by  a  mysterious  travel- 
ler calling  himself  Aga  Beg,  and 
professing  to  be  a  Pole,  but  whom 
Gardner  believed  to  be  an  escaped 
Siberian  convict.  The  two  Euro- 
peans whom  chance  thus  strangely 
brought  together  had  not  long  to 
wait  for  an  adventure.  Falling 
in  with  a  camp  of  nomadic  ma- 
rauders, they  were  robbed  of  all 
their  horses  and  camels,  and  noth- 
ing remained  for  them  but  to 
swear  on  their  drawn  swords  to 
recover  their  property  or  die. 
Escaping  from  the  camp  at  mid- 
night, they  lurked  for  two  days  in 
perilous  concealment,  and  at  last 
succeeded  in  surprising  their  ene- 
mies and  carrying  off  twelve 
horses  and  ample  booty.  As  the 
modest  Gardner  admits,  "it  was 
a  daring  deed,"  for  the  country 
swarmed  with  robbers.  For  sev- 
eral months  they  fought  their  way, 
now  with  diplomacy  and  now  with 
their  swords  ;  but  realising  at  last 
the  impossibility  of  reaching  Sa- 
markand, they  resolved  to  strike 
southwards  through  a  dangerous 
mountain  country  for  Kabul,  there 
to  place  their  swords  at  the  dis- 
posal of  Dost  Muhammad  Khan, 
who  was  at  that  time  warring 
with  his  kindred  for  the  throne  of 
Afghanistan,  his  most  dangerous 
rival  being  his  nephew,  Habib-ulla 
Khan,  who  held  a  strong  posi- 
tion in  the  north  of  Afghanistan. 
It  was  to  the  camp  of  this  latter 
prince  that  fate  directed  the  steps 


1898.] 


A  Soldier  of  Fortune  in  the  East. 


119 


of  Gardner,  and  the  story  of  their 
meeting  is  an  admirable  example 
of  his  wonderful  resourcefulness 
and  tact. 

"At  last  (says  the  traveller)  we 
came  upon  an  outpost  of  the  Kohistan 
region  of  the  Kabul  country,  and 
were  stopped  by  a  mounted  guard. 
"We  demanded  the  name  of  the  ruler. 
The  guard  declared  it  to  be  the  great 
Amir  Habib  -  ulla  Khan,  of  Kabul, 
Kashmir,  and  Peshawar.  We  desired 
to  be  brought  before  him.  The  guard 
refused,  and  demanded  the  usual  cus- 
tom dues.  We  persisted,  and  seeing  a 
threatening  of  an  attack,  disarmed 
two  of  them,  but  the  third  escaped 
and  flew  for  aid.  The  crisis  was  now 
approaching. 

"In  about  an  hour  we  heard  the 
trampling  and  rushing  sound  of  still 
distant  cavalry,  and  presently  the 
famous  but  unfortunate  outlawed 
chieftain,  splendidly  mounted  and  at 
the  head  of  fifty  picked  horsemen, 
dashed  at  us.  We  could  see  them 
coming  on  like  a  desert -storm  for  a 
mile,  and  I  had  barely  time  to  order 
my  followers  to  mount  and  to  place 
myself  at  their  head,  when  the  caval- 
cade was  upon  us.  I  received  them 
with_  a  respectful  military  salute. 
Habib-ulla  Khan  was  enraged  at  the 
insult  we  had  offered  to  his  outpost, 
but  amused,  I  could  see,  at  the  atti- 
tude of  our  small  band.  The  moment 
was  come  for  parley  ;  I  ordered  my 
men  to  sheath  their  swords,  returned 
my  own  to  its  scabbard,  and  demanded 
an  audience.  By  this  time  we  were 
completely  surrounded  by  the  chief's 
party,  and  I  knew  that  we  were  in 
their  power,  and  that  nothing  but 
audacity  and  tact  could  save  us.  I 
enjoined  silence,  under  pain  of  death, 
on  my  men,  and  then  explained  my- 
self frankly  to  the  chief. 

"I  told  him  I  was  of  the  New 
World  (he  had  never  before  heard  of 
it)  and  a  Christian,  and  he  declared 
the  secret  should  be  inviolable.  His 
first  irritation  over,  it  pleased  rather 
than  displeased  his  fine  nature  that 
we  had  refused  to  comply  with  the 
demands  of  the  outpost,  and  had  pre- 
ferred to  fling  ourselves  on  his  pro- 
tection. The  affair  ended  by  the 
generous  chief  sending  then  and  there 


a  distance  of  three  miles  for  a  sump- 
tuous repast  and  Kabul  vintages 
wherewith  to  recruit  our  famished 
frames." 

The  connection  thus  formed  was 
fated  to  end  in  awful  tragedy,  but 
the  two  and  a  half  years  for  which 
it  lasted  were  the  happiest  in 
Gardner's  life.  The  days  were 
spent  in  constant  raids  and  forays 
within  the  enemy's  borders,  and 
to  the  congenial  excitement  of 
such  a  life  was  added  the  satisfac- 
tion of  serving  under  a  chief  for 
whom  he  seems  to  have  had  no 
ordinary  affection  and  respect. 
Gardner  invariably  refers  to  this 
noble  Afghan  prince  in  terms  of 
the  highest  eulogy,  and  his  picture 
of  the  man  stands  out  in  brilliant 
relief  among  the  many  dark  and 
sinister  Eastern  faces  that  throng 
his  pages  : — 

"  He  headed  us  in  every  struggle, 
and  was  the  champion  of  every  fight. 
He  seemed  ubiquitous  in  action,  and 
his  shout  in  the  charge  struck  terror 
into  the  hearts  of  our  enemies,  and 
seemed  to  lend  double  courage  and 
vigour  to  his  followers.  There  was 
hardly  one  of  us  who  was  not  at  one 
time  or  other  indebted  to  him  for 
life,  and  not  one  who  was  not  ready 
to  repay  the  debt." 

Shortly  after  his  entering  the 
service  of  this  Rupert  of  the  East, 
news  arrived  that  one  of  the  ladies 
of  Dost  Muhammad's  harem,  to 
whom  the  gods  had  been  unkind, 
had  set  out  with  a  retinue  on 
a  pilgrimage  to  certain  noted 
shrines,  and  by  a  ruse  Gardner 
succeeded  in  carrying  off  the  lady 
and  her  attendants.  The  prin- 
cess was  honourably  treated,  and 
in  due  time  ransomed — the  chiv- 
alry of  Habib  -  ulla  contrasting 
nobly  with  the  dastardly  treat- 
ment his  mother  and  sisters  had 
suffered  at  the  hands  of  Dost 
Muhammad,  the  young  prince  in 
his  pride  and  grief  having  slain 


120 


A  Soldier  of  Fortune  in  the  East. 


[July 


them  -with  his  own  hand  to  avenge 
their  honour.  Gardner,  refusing 
the  gold  that  was  offered  him  for 
this  capture,  asked  as  his  reward 
the  hand  of  one  of  the  princess's 
maidens  in  marriage,  and  then 
followed  a  period  all  too  brief  of 
domestic  happiness.  In  1826,  Dost 
Muhammad,  aided  by  the  fanatical 
mullahs  whom  he  had  liberally 
bribed,  made  a  supreme  attempt 
to  crush  his  rival,  and  the  victory 
which  he  obtained  by  virtue  of 
overwhelming  numbers  was  fol- 
lowed by  the  usual  banquet  of 
horrors  attending  Afghan  warfare. 
When  Gardner,  wounded  and  with 
only  a  remnant  of  his  men,  fought 
his  way  back  to  the  hill  fort,  he 
found  the  mangled  bodies  of  his 
wife  and  child,  the  former  still 
clenching  in  her  hand  the  dagger 
with  which  she  had  stabbed  herself 
to  the  heart.  For  Habib  -  ulla 
Khan  an  awful  duty  remained. 
With  his  own  hands  he  slew  all 
his  wives  and  female  slaves.  Thus 
for  a  second  time  this  brave  and 
chivalrous  prince  had  to  turn  his 
sword  against  his  own,  and  not 
long  after  died  on  his  way  to 
Mecca,  with  a  mind  unhinged  by 
the  horrors  of  which  he  had  been 
made  so  plentifully  to  sup.  Of 
Gardner  it  is  related  that  long 
afterwards,  when  more  peaceful 
days  had  dawned,  the  old  soldier 
was  unable  without  tears  to  revert 
to  the  story  of  his  Afghan  wife 
and  child. 

Gardner  and  seven  tribesmen 
were  unable  to  follow  their  chief 
on  account  of  their  wounds,  a  cir- 
cumstance to  which  they  owed 
their  lives,  and  henceforth  the 
little  band  of  eight  had  no  alter- 
native but  to  thread  their  way 
through  a  hostile  country,  living 
by  what  plunder  they  could  seize. 
Now  they  passed  as  slave- dealers, 
again  as  Turkoman  robbers,  glad 
sometimes  to  feast  on  carrion,  and 


counting  as  the  most  precious  of 
all  their  booty  a  lump  of  salt, 
already  rounded  by  the  lickings 
of  its  former  owners.  Intend- 
ing to  make  for  the  shrine  of 
Hazrat  Imam  on  the  south  bank 
of  the  Oxus,  Gardner  found  temp- 
orary shelter  with  a  priest  of  the 
Nimchu  Kafirs,  descendants  of 
Kafirs  and  Mohammedans.  Here 
the  travellers  met  with  the  great- 
est hospitality,  the  old  priest  pre- 
senting Gardner  with  a  copy  of  the 
Koran,  which  proved  invaluable 
later  on  as  a  safe  depository  for  his 
notes.  Disregarding  such  hand- 
some inducements  as  the  offer  of  a 
command  of  20,000  Kafirs  and  the 
security  of  his  eternal  felicity  by 
having  his  remains  placed,  when 
the  time  should  come,  on  the 
highest  peak  of  the  Hindu  Kush, 
Gardner  proceeded  on  his  way ; 
but  had  only  travelled  for  a  few 
days  when  he  was  attacked  by  a 
company  of  fifty  well-armed  Kun- 
duz  robbers,  and  his  party,  now 
numbering  thirteen,  was  reduced 
to  seven. 

"I  myself,"  says  Gardner,  "re- 
ceived two  wounds,  one  a  bad  one  in 
the  groin  from  an  Afghan  knife,  and 
the  other  a  stab  from  a  dirk  in  the 
chest.  .  .  .  We  made  our  way  through 
the  pass  as  quickly  as  we  could  in  the 
midst  of  heavy  rain,  hail,  and  light- 
ning, while  the  roll  of  the  thunder 
seemed  to  make  the  very  rocks  around 
us  and  the  ground  beneath  us  to 
vibrate  most  sensibly.  What  with 
my  two  former  wounds  still  raw,  and 
my  two  fresh  ones  (one  of  which 
was  bleeding  freely),  I  was  soon  so 
weak  as  nearly  to  faint  in  my  saddle  ; 
while  my  Therbah  was  in  nearly  as 
bad  a  condition.  We,  however,  kept 
up  our  spirits,  and  congratulated  our- 
selves that  not  one  of  our  party  had 
been  taken  alive  or  doomed  by  capture 
to  hopeless  slavery. 

"Thus  we  proceeded  through  the 
whole  dark  night, the  vividand  repeat- 
ed flashes  of  lightning  alone  showing 
us  the  way  over  most  difficult  ground. 
About  daybreak  we  arrived  at  the 


1898.] 


A  Soldier  of  Fortune  in  the  East. 


121 


eastern  mouth  of  the  pass,  and  having 
cleared  it,  we  left  the  road  and  made 
for  the  shelter  of  a  secluded  glen, 
where  we  halted.  The  rain  had  now 
nearly  ceased,  and  we  proceeded  to 
collect  forage  for  our  jaded  horses. 
"We  were  so  utterly  wearied  that  we 
did  not  care  for  food  for  ourselves, 
though  we  had  two  days'  rations 
of  mulberry  -  bread  with  us,  which 
had  been  given  us  by  the  holy  pir. 
We  accordingly  lay  down  in  our 
dripping  clothes,  indifferent  whether 
we  might  be  traced  and  again  at- 
tacked by  our  last  night's  enemies.  I 
did  not  even  take  the  precaution  to 
apply  any  dressing  to  my  wounds, 
merely  satisfying  myself  that  the 
bleeding  had  ceased. 

"  Notwithstanding  a  drizzling  rain 
which  shortly  came  on,  and  the  keen 
cutting  blast  from  the  hills,  we  slept 
nearly  the  whole  day.  Whilst  I  slept 
my  Therbah  sat  watchful  by  my  side, 
and  no  expostulation  of  mine  could 
induce  him  to  lie  down  and  take  rest. 
Though  he  spoke  in  high  terms  of 
praise  of  the  bravery  of  our  comrades, 
and  particularly  of  our  volunteer,  who 
had  been  killed  beside  him,  he  never 
made  any  reference  to  his  own  ex- 
ploits, and  considered  it  as  an  insult  for 
any  one  to  allude  in  his  presence  to  his 
acts,  or  draw  attention  to  his  wounds. 

"I  may  here  be  permitted  to  say 
that,  from  long  association  with  these 
rude  people,  I  have  in  a  measure  con- 
tracted some  of  their  habits  and 
peculiarities — this  among  others  ;  and 
though  bearing  on  my  body  the  tokens 
of  my  younger  and  wilder  days  in  the 
shape  of  thirteen  or  fourteen  wounds, 
nothing  annoys  me  more  than  to  be 
asked  how  I  got  this  and  where  I  re- 
ceived that.  If  such  a  question  had 
been  asked  me  in  Turkestan,  I  should 
certainly  have  knocked  the  man  down 
who  questioned  me.  And  I  may  here 
say,  once  for  all,  that  in  all  the  oc- 
currences of  my  past,  misspent  life,  I 
was  invariably  actuated  in  my  inward 
soul  by  feelings  at  once  honest  and 
upright,  at  least  so  far  as  my  poor 
senses  allow  me  to  judge  between 
right  and  wrong." 

Realising  the  impossibility  of 
reaching  Hazrat  Imam,  the  rem- 
nant set  out  eastwards  through 


Badakshan,  then  a  happy  hunting- 
ground  of  slave-traders.  Sanctity 
and  slave-dealing  were  here  syn- 
onymous, the  shrines  being  the 
usual  marts  where  a  female  slave 
could  be  exchanged  for  three 
ponies  and  seven  red-eyed  cats. 
Gardner's  life  at  this  time  was 
wretched  in  the  extreme — leading 
his  horses  through  wellnigh  im- 
penetrable passes,  and  camping  by 
night  in  any  cave  that  could 
shelter  him  from  the  biting  winds. 
At  last  he  crossed  the  Oxus  by 
a  raft  made  of  blocks  of  ice 
bound  together  by  straw  ropes 
and  covered  with  grass,  and  so 
reached  Shighnan,  where  "the  good 
old  bai  [chief],  though  of  the  blood 
royal,  did  not  disdain  to  sit  up 
half  the  night  with  us,  squatted 
on  the  ground  in  true  patriarchal 
style,  armed  to  the  teeth  with 
sword,  dagger,  and  buckler."  Of 
this  old  chief  Gardner  gives  a  very 
entertaining  account,  especially 
with  reference  to  his  domestic 
affairs, — and,  be  it  said,  our  soldier 
of  fortune  had  ever  a  true  Spanish 
appreciation  for  the  beauties  of 
Kafiristan.  The  first  four  of  the 
bai's  wives  bore  the  significant 
titles  of  the  Original,  the  Beauty, 
the  Handmaid,  and  the  Pet ;  and 
one  morning  our  privileged  tra- 
veller surprised  the  venerable 
chieftain  being  vigorously  be- 
laboured with  a  slipper  by  the 
Original  and  the  Pet  for  an  im- 
aginary breach  of  fidelity.  That 
there  may  have  been  some  grounds 
for  the  charge  is  evident  from  the 
fact  that  Gardner  was  soon  after- 
wards invited  to  attend  a  wedding 
of  the  bai's  which  had  a  sanguin- 
ary ending.  The  intended  bride 
eloped,  and,  together  with  her 
mother  and  eleven  attendants,  was 
pursued  and  slain  by  her  father; 
while  the  defrauded  bridegroom 
of  sixty-five  was  consoled  before 
morning  with  another  bride  of 


122 


A  Soldier  of  Fortune  in  the  East. 


[July 


fifteen.  Passing  northwards,  Gard- 
ner wintered  with  a  hospitable 
robber  chief,  and  while  here  he 
was  witness  of  another  strange 
matrimonial  tragedy  :— 

"A  fair  young  damsel,  daughter  of 
the  Kirghiz  bai,  had  been  betrothed 
and  sold  for  various  considerable  sums 
to  a  number  of  different  suitors.  It 
was  settled  now  by  the  elders  and 
priests  that  all  the  young  suitors  had 
an  equal  right  to  her,  that  the  lady 
should  ride  with  a  slung  bow,  and  that 
whoever  caught  her  should  be  the 
lucky  swain.  Accordingly  she  ap- 
peared :  a  lovely  girl,  with  a  heron's 
plume  stuck  in  her  high  fur  cap 
gracefully  waving  over  her  fair  fore- 
head ;  a  red  leather  girdle  round  her 
waist ;  and  a  small  light  bow  slung 
over  her  arm.  She  also  held  a  few 
arrows.  She  then  chose  a  fleet  horse 
and  started  off  at  full  speed,  hotly 
pursued  by  her  suitors.  The  excite- 
ment of  the  chase  was  vivid.  She 
was  long  seen  waving  the  bow  over 
her  head  in  the  distance,  until  a  turn 
of  the  plain  round  a  mountain  spur 
hid  the  headlong  party  from  our  sight. 
Had  she  escaped  and  returned  to  camp 
in  possession  of  the  bow,  she  would 
have  been  considered  as  freed  from  all 
engagements ;  but  it  was  not  to  be  so. 
After  a  long  chase  the  young  lady  re- 
turned, flushed  and  tired,  without  her 
bow,  and  somewhat  abashed.  Short- 
ly afterwards  we  saw  the  triumphant 
suitor  describing  a  figure  of  eight  on 
horseback  on  the  very  spot  whence  the 
lady  came  again  into  our  range  of  vision, 
and  brandishing  the  fateful  bow  aloft. 
Then  the  elders  and  priests  arose,  and 
with  pipe  and  tambour  played  the 
conquering  hero  into  camp.  Before 
an  hour  had  elapsed  the  nuptial 
knot  -had  been  tied.  The  bride  now 
for  the  first  time  loosed  her  virgin 
tresses,  which  were  formerly  plaited 
over  her  neck  ;  and  then  the  wedding 
banquet  commenced." 

On  the  following  day  the  robber 
chief  who  was  Gardner's  host  re- 
turned from  a  raid  against  some 
of  his  rebellious  subjects,  and 
among  his  prisoners,  to  Gardner's 
grief,  was  the  heroine  of  the  pre- 


ceding story,  who  was  brought 
into  camp  strapped  to  the  robber's 
back.  In  vain  Gardner  begged 
for  her  release,  the  chief  protest- 
ing that  as  he  had  that  day  slain 
her  husband  and  all  her  family,  he 
was  now  bound  to  become  her 
protector.  "  Nothing  reconciled 
the  girl  to  her  fate.  She  stabbed 
herself  to  death  before  the  Shah 
two  days  later,  with  a  dagger  which 
she  had  evidently  concealed  for 
the  purpose." 

Travelling  north  in  the  spring 
of  1827  with  a  view  to  striking 
the  main  caravan  route  between 
Samarkand  and  Yarkand,  Gard- 
ner then  turned  eastwards  by  the 
Alai  valley,  the  reputed  original 
Garden  of  Eden,  encountering 
some  wild  and  unknown  tribes, 
one  of  which  lived  like  wild  beasts 
in  holes  and  caves,  and  subsisted 
on  raw  flesh.  Finally  joining  a 
small  caravan,  Gardner  crossed 
through  the  desert  of  Kasbgar 
and  turned  south  to  Yarkand, 
thence  journeying  in  the  disguise 
of  a  pilgrim  to  Srinagar,  the 
capital  of  Kashmir,  which  had 
newly  been  devastated  by  earth- 
quake and  pestilence.  Here  he 
heard  that  his  old  chief,  Prince 
Habib-ulla  Khan,  was  now  in  the 
ascendant  in  Afghanistan,  and 
boldly  resolved  to  rejoin  him. 
This  is  perhaps  the  most  daring 
feat  of  Gardner's  wonderful  career, 
and  it  is  of  singular  importance  as 
illustrating  the  strategical  import- 
ance of  Chitral.  From  Srinagar  he 
"  traversed  the  Gilgit  valley  from 
the  Indus  to  the  Snowy  Moun- 
tains, and  finally  crossed  over 
into  Chitral."  Gardner's  views  of 
Chitral  were  prophetic,  if  futile  : — 

"  It  is  said  that  when  Amir 
Dost  Muhammad  Khan  was  invad- 
ing Kunduz  and  Badakshan  in  1850, 
the  large  body  of  troops  which  had 
been  sent  from  Kabul  vid  the  Khawak 
Pass  [the  route  followed  by  Gardner 


1898.] 


A  Soldier  of  Fortune  in  the  East. 


himself]  had  met  with  but  slight  suc- 
cess. There  appeared  no  prospect  of 
thus  reducing  these  distant  regions 
to  subjection  until  a  body  of  from 
2000  to  3000  irregular  cavalry,  with 
four  or  six  guns,  I  know  not  which, 
were  sent  up  from  Jalalabad  by 
the  Chitral  caravan-route,  and,  cross- 
ing the  Bai'oghil  Pass  into  Wakhan, 
swept  to  the  westward  via  Kala-i- 
Panj  and  Ishkashem,  meeting  no  re- 
sistance until  they  arrived  at  Jerm. 

"The  chief  of  Badakshan,  seeing 
himself  thus  unexpectedly  attacked 
both  in  front  and  rear,  went  with 
the  leading  inhabitants  of  his  pro- 
vince and  tendered  his  full  submis- 
sion to  the  Afghan  ruler. 

"  This  body  of  troops  then  con- 
tinued its  march,  and  in  a  similar 
manner  compelled  the  surrender  of 
the  chief  of  Kunduz,  who  had  pre- 
viously made  a  noble  and  successful 
defence  against  the  Kabul  army. 

"May  it  not  be  suggested  that 
what  happened  on  the  above  occasion 
may  be  repeated  in  the  reverse  way, 
and  that  Afghanistan  may  fall  to 
Russia  if  attacked  in  like  manner  ; 
that  is,  that  while  one  army  was 
knocking  at  the  time-honoured  gate 
of  Barman,  another  might  steal  its 
way  down  the  Chitral  valley,  and 
suddenly  dash  on  the  astounded  and 
probably  weak  garrison  of  Jalalabad." 

From  Chitral,  Gardner,  accom- 
panied by  a  priest,  entered  Kafir- 
istan  for  the  second  time,  and  pro- 
ceeded to  Kabul,  on  nearing  which 
he  found  that  his  extraordinary 
journey  was  in  vain,  and  that  his 
enemy,  Dost  Muhammad,  reigned 
supreme.  Nothing  daunted,  the 
intrepid  traveller  made  for  Kan- 
dahar, near  which  he  was  made  a 
prisoner,  and  kept  for  nine  months 
under  ground.  It  is  a  singular 
proof  of  the  commanding  personal- 
ity of  Gardner  that  during  all  this 
time  a  band  of  Kbaibari  robbers 
that  had  joined  him  on  the  journey 
remained  faithful  to  him  in  his 
imprisonment,  and  eventually  pro- 
cured his  release.  Once  free, 
he  lost  no  time  in  robbing  a 
caravan,  and  then  rode  fearlessly 


to  Kabul  to  confess  his  crime  and 
offer  his  services  to  his  enemy, 
Dost  Muhammad  Khan.  The 
Amir  did  not  fail  to  appreciate 
the  boldness  of  the  action,  and, 
though  refusing  Gardner's  services, 
he  inflicted  no  penalty,  and  gave 
him  a  safe  conduct  to  Bajour. 
Accordingly,  in  1831  Gardner  left 
Kabul  and  made  his  way  in  safety 
through  a  dangerous  country  to 
Bajour,  where  he  was  well  received, 
and  took  part  in  some  inter-tribal 
fighting.  Here  also  he  enjoyed  a 
brief  leisure,  which  he  occupied  in 
writing  up  the  records  of  his 
travels  from  the  notes  concealed 
in  the  tattered  Koran  which  hung 
from  his  neck.  In  the  same  year 
Gardner  became  chief  of  artil- 
lery under  Muhammad  Khan  at 
Peshawar,  brother  and  enemy  of 
Dost  Muhammad;  and  in  1832 
his  travels  came  to  an  end  when 
he  was  summoned  to  Lahore  to 
enter  the  service  of  Maharaja 
Ranjit  Singh. 

By  the  year  1818  Ranjit  Singh, 
who  in  1791  had  succeeded,  at  the 
age  of  eleven,  to  the  chieftainship 
of  one  of  the  least  important  of 
the  twelve  Sikh  confederacies, 
dominated  the  whole  of  the  Pan- 
jab,  and  then  set  about  equipping 
an  army  fit  to  cope  with  both  the 
British  and  the  Afghan  forces. 
A  man  of  no  education,  unpre- 
possessing in  appearance,  and  of 
low  moral  character,  he  was,  in 
spite  of  his  superstition  and  de- 
bauchery, an  able  administrator, 
and  had  a  magnetic  personality 
that  stamped  him  as  a  born  ruler 
and  a  king  of  men.  In  1809, 
Lord  Metcalfe,  then  a  young 
political  officer  at  Amritsar,  was 
treacherously  attacked  by  a  body 
of  fanatical  tribesmen ;  and  the 
successful  resistance  offered  by  his 
small  but  well-trained  native  escort 
convinced  the  clear-sighted  Ma- 
haraja of  the  value  of  Euro- 


124 


A  Soldier  of  Fortune  in  the  East. 


[July 


pean  methods  of  discipline  and 
drill.  From  that  time  the  Pan- 
jab  army  became  the  centre  of 
attraction  for  all  the  knights- 
errant  of  Europe,  and  in  the 
remarkable  list  of  officers  which 
Major  Pearse  enumerates  we  find 
the  names  of  four  Italians,  thirteen 
French,  eleven  British,  and  two 
Americans,  —  Russia,  strangely 
enough,  apparently  having  no 
representative  in  this  cosmopoli- 
tan assembly.  Of  these,  many 
had  careers  hardly  less  strange 
than  Gardner's  own ;  and  it  is 
especially  curious  to  note  how  the 
battle  of  Waterloo,  by  a  strange 
historical  freak,  was  the  means  of 
supplying  the  great  Panjab  ruler 
with  some  of  his  most  distin- 
guished auxiliaries.  General  Avit- 
abile,  a  Neapolitan  peasant,  was  a 
lieutenant  under  Murat,  and  for 
six  years  was  a  colonel  in  the  Per- 
sian army  before  entering  the  ser- 
vice of  Ranjit  Singh.  His  ruthless 
government  of  Peshawar  gained  for 
him  from  Sir  Henry  Lawrence  the 
description  of  being  "  a  savage 
among  savage  men  " ;  but  Have- 
lock,  who  visited  him  in  1839, 
found  him  a  most  affable  ruler, 
living  in  princely  state,  with  no 
fewer  than  eight  cooks  to  minister 
to  his  palate.  In  1845  the  East 
India  Company  presented  Avita- 
bile  with  a  sword  of  honour  for 
his  indirect  help  to  the  British 
during  the  Sikh  war,  and  soon 
afterwards  he  retired  with  a  for- 
tune of  £50,000,  to  die  of  gout 
in  his  beloved  Naples.  General 
Ventura,  also  an  Italian  by 
birth,  and  a  colonel  in  the  French 
army,  after  making  an  ample  for- 
tune in  the  Panjab,  ultimately 
succumbed  to  the  gaieties  of 
Paris.  Jean  Francois  Allard,  one 
of  the  most  amiable  of  Ranjit's 
officers,  followed  his  friend  Ven- 
tura to  India,  and  succeeded  in 
making  an  income  of  £3000 


per  annum.  Like  Ventura  and 
Avitabile,  he  was  honoured  by 
Louis  Philippe  by  being  made 
a  general  in  the  French  army, 
and  gaining  the  Cross  of  the 
Legion  of  Honour.  Even  more 
notable  than  any  of  these,  how- 
ever, was  Dr  Josiah  Harlan,  a 
native  of  Philadelphia,  who  started 
life  as  a  supercargo,  When  the 
celebrated  Dr  Wolff  visited  the 
town  of  Gujrat,  he  was  surprised 
to  hear  some  one  in  the  Governor's 
palace  singing  "  Yankee  Doodle" 
with  a  fine  American  snuffle : — 

" '  It  was  his  Excellency  the  Gov- 
ernor himself.  He  was  a  fine  tall 
gentleman,  dressed  in  European  cloth- 
ing, and  with  an  Indian  hookah  in  his 
mouth.'  Wolff  asked  how  he  came 
to  know  'Yankee  Doodle.'  He 
answered,  in  nasal  tones,  '  I  am  a  free 
citizen  of  the  United  States,  from  the 
State  of  Pennsylvania,  city  of  Phila- 
delphia. I  am  the  son  of  a  Quaker. 
My  name  is  Josiah  Harlan.'" 

In  the  course  of  an  extraordinary 
career  he  became  an  assistant- 
surgeon  with  the  British  army  in 
Burmah,  and  subsequently  made 
a  bold  attempt  to  seize  the  throne 
of  Afghanistan.  He  actually  suc- 
ceeded in  capturing  an  Afghan 
fort,  but  fell  an  easy  victim  to 
Ranjit  Singh,  who  told  him,  "If 
you  behave  well,  I  will  increase 
your  salary ;  if  not,  I  will  cut  off 
your  nose."  To  the  credit  of  the 
American  be  it  said,  he  eventually 
returned  to  Philadelphia  with  his 
honour  untarnished  and  his  nose 
unimpaired.  It  is  not,  however, 
so  much  his  wonderful  adven- 
tures as  a  secret  agent  and  ruler 
in  Afghanistan  that  we  admire, 
as  the  fine  patriotic  fervour  that 
stamps  him  the  pioneer  of  Yellow 
Journalism. 

"I  surmounted  the  Indian  Cauca- 
sus," he  wrote,  "and  there  upon  the 
mountain  heights  unfurled  my  coun- 
try's banner  to  the  breeze  under  a 


1898.] 


A  Soldier  of  Fortune  in  the  Hast. 


salute  of  twenty -six  guns.  On  the 
highest  pass  of  the  frosty  Caucasus, 
that  of  Kharzar,  12,500  feet  above 
the  sea,  the  star-spangled  banner 
gracefully  waved  amid  the  icy  peaks 
and  soilless,  rugged  rocks  of  a  sterile 
region,  seemingly  sacred  to  the  soli- 
tude of  an  undisturbed  eternity." 

And  again,  when  a  native  prince 
had  abdicated  in  his  favour,  he 
declared  that  he  "  looked  upon 
kingdoms  and  principalities  as  of 
frivolous  import  when  weighed  in 
the  balance  of  the  more  honour- 
able and  estimable  title  of  Ameri- 
can citizen."  "The  general,"  says 
Major  Pearse,  "was  in  fact  a  poet 
as  well  as  a  doctor  and  a  soldier  "  ; 
and  we  cannot  but  think  that 
even  had  he  been  none  of  these 
things,  he  would  have  won  a  con- 
spicuous place  in  the  lurid  annals 
of  his  country's  press. 

Gardner's  first  appearance  in 
this  scene  of  bloodshed  and  faction 
was  highly  characteristic  of  the 
man,  resembling  with  a  curious 
exactness  the  manner  of  his  in- 
troduction to  Habib-ulla  Khan 
and  hi*  bearding  of  Dost  Muham- 
mad in  Kabul.  While  awaiting 
an  audience  with  B/anjib  Singh — 

"  a  certain  Nand  Singh,  an  officer  of 
the  Maharaja's  cavalry,  rode  his  horse 
intentionally  against  me  and  endeav- 
oured to  jostle  me  into  the  ditch, 
which  was  deep,  and  filled  with  run- 
ning water.  I  touched  the  rein  of 
my  good  steed,  gave  him  half  a  turn, 
pressed  him  with  my  sword-hand  the 
veriest  trifle  on  the  loins,  and  in  an 
instant  Nand  Singh  and  his  horse 
were  rolling  011  the  ground.  I  calmly 
expressed  the  hope  that  the  fallen 
man  was  not  hurt,  and  was  treated 
with  much  civility  during  the  re- 
maining time  that  I  was  kept 
waiting." 

The  favourable  impression  made 
by  his  cool  and  dauntless  bearing 
was  confirmed  by  a  stroke  of  luck. 
The  Maharaja  had  an  unbounded 
belief  in  the  omniscience  of  his 


European  officers,  and  required  of 
Gardner,  who  now  afcer  many 
years  resumed  his  proper  name 
and  character,  a  practical  demon- 
stration of  his  skill  with  two 
cannon  that  had  been  presented  to 
him  by  Lord  William  Bentinck, 
Governor- General  of  India.  Thanks 
to  some  printed  instructions  which 
he  found  among  a  bundle  of  fuses, 
Gardner  succeeded  to  a  marvel, 
and  was  at  once  appointed  chief 
Colonel  of  Artillery  in  the  Sikh 
army.  There  is  another  very 
amusing  instance  recorded  by 
Gardner  of  the  limitations  of  the 
astute  Maharaja.  Having  heard 
of  steam-boats,  he  ordered  General 
Ventura  to  make  him  one  without 
delay;  and  as  refusal  was  out  of 
the  question,  the  Italian,  with 
Gardner's  co-operation,  manufac- 
tured a  wonderful  two-decked 
barge,  with  paddle-wheels  worked 
by  hand.  The  absence  of  sails 
and  oars  made  it  clear  to  Kanjit 
Singh  that  he  at  length  had  a 
veritable  steamer,  and  when  the 
exhausted  wheel-turners  succeeded 
in  propelling  the  strange  craft 
some  ten  yards  up  the  Kavi,  his 
delight  knew  no  bounds.  Filling 
the  cabins  with  nautch-girls,  he 
held  a  river-carnival  to  celebrate 
the  foundation  of  his  fleet,  and 
rewarded  the  ingenious  boat- 
builders  with  more  than  sixty 
thousand  rupees. 

The  last  six  years  of  Kanjit 
Singh's  reign  were  occupied  in 
constant  warring  with  the  Af- 
ghans, and  in  all  the  actions 
Gardner  had  a  share.  Finally, 
after  an  uneventful  though  far  from 
bloodless  campaign,  Dost  Muham- 
mad was  forced  to  beat  a  night 
retreat  through  -the  Khaibar  Pass, 
leaving  Peshawar  in  the  hands  of 
the  Sikhs.  On  the  Maharaja's 
death  in  1839,  there  was  no  one 
capable  of  maintaining  the  king- 
dom which  his  commanding  abil- 


126 


A  Soldier  of  Fortune  in  the  Easl. 


[July 


ities  had  built  up,  and  henceforth 
the  Panjab  entered  on  a  period  of 
anarchy  and  disintegration.  The 
events  that  led  to  the  first  Sikh 
war  are  matter  of  history,  and 
we  are  here  concerned  only  with 
Gardner's  share  in  the  complica- 
ted drama.  From  the  first  he 
took  his  stand  with  the  Dogra 
brothers,  one  of  whom,  Dhyan 
Singh,  had  been  the  late  Maha- 
raja's chief  Minister,  and  was  now 
plotting  on  behalf  of  his  own 
son  against  Ranjit  Singh's  weak- 
minded  son  and  successor.  Tra- 
gedy and  murder  began  to  follow 
with  startling  rapidity.  Before 
many  months  the  new  ruler  was 
poisoned,  and  his  unnatural  son, 
who  connived  at  the  deed,  per- 
ished on  the  ensuing  day  beneath 
a  falling  archway.  In  January 
1842  occurred  the  British  mas- 
sacre at  Kabul,  by  a  son  of  Dost 
Muhammad,  when  of  fifteen  thou- 
sand men,  but  one  exhausted  and 
wounded  officer  reached  Jelala- 
bad  in  safety.  It  was  at  this 
time  that  Gardner  first  met  Henry 
Lawrence,  when  the  latter,  dis- 
guised as  a  Pathan,  entered  the 
camp  of  Gulab  Singh,  another  of 
the  Dogra  brothers. 

"  It  was  amusing,"  writes  Gardner, 
"to  listen  to  the  verbal  fence  of  the 
two  when  I  was  admitted  into  the 
audience -tent.  Lawrence  had  got 
some  valuable  news  from  down  coun- 
try, and  he  was  well  aware  that  Gulab 
Singh's  direct  news  from  Kabul  would 
be  of  the  greatest  interest  to  the 
British.  He  jocularly  offered  to  swap 
news.  Gulab  Singh  laughed  and 
agreed.  '  Give  and  take,'  said  he  ; 
'  let  it  be  fair  barter  :  you  tell  the 
truth,  and  so  will  I.'" 

And  it  was  then  that  Lawrence 
heard  the  first  news  of  the  awful 
calamity  that  had  befallen  his 
countrymen. 

The  ambition  of  Gulab  and 
Dhyan  Singh,  the  Dogra  brothers, 
with  whom  Gardner  was  hence- 


forth identified,  was  the  pivot 
round  which  revolved  moat  of  the 
tragedies  that  ensued.  In  many 
of  them  Gardner  perforce  took  an 
active  part,  of  some  of  them  he 
was  but  an  impassive  witness;  but 
he  is  the  graphic  historian  of 
them  all.  "  See  what  will  be- 
come of  you  in  twenty-four  hours," 
said  one  of  his  rivals  to  Dhyan 
Singh,  and  the  imperturbable 
Minister  smilingly  answered  : 
"Your  humble  servant,  sir;  we 
si t.all  see."  That  same  evening 
Dhyan  Singh,  accompanied  by 
Gardner,  proceeded  to  the  palace 
of  the  imbecile  Maharaja,  and 
despatched  his  rival,  Ghet  Singh, 
as  Rizzio  was  slain  of  old : — 

"  It  was  near  midnight  when  we 
entered  the  palace,  and  no  sooner 
had  we  left  the  gate  through  which 
wo  bad  been  admitted  than  a  voice 
accosted  us,  '  Who  is  it  1 '  Dhyan 
Singh  replied,  '  The  Maharaja  goes 
to-morrow  to  bathe  at  Amritsar,  and 
we  are  to  make  the  necessary  prepara- 
tions.' This  was  the  concerted  an- 
swer. We  reached  another  and  inner 
gate,  which  noiselessly  opened  on  a 
whispered  order  from  Dhyan  Singh. 
Without  uttering  a  whisper,  we  steal- 
thily crept  our  way  in  the  dark  up 
a  flight  of  stairs,  over  a  place  called 
the  Badshah-i-Takht,  and  thence  to 
the  immediate  vicinity  of  the  royal 
apartment.  Here  Gulab  Singh  and 
Dhyan  Singh  held  a  whispered  con- 
sultation, the  purport  of  which  I 
could  not  catch.  At  this  moment 
a  man  started  up,  .and  seeing  us, 
called  out  and  tried  to  run  off. 
Suchet  Singh  shot  him  dead,  and 
was  himself  instantly  almost  knocked 
down  by  a  tremendous  cuff  on  the 
ear  dealt  him  by  his  brother,  Gulab 
Singh,  who  cursed  him  under  his 
breath  for  his  imprudence.  On  look- 
ing over  a  parapet  we  saw  two 
companies  of  the  Maharaja's  guard. 
Dhyan  Singh  quickly  went  down  the 
staircase  to  the  place  where  they 
were  stationed,  and  was  accosted  by 
the  subadar  in  command,  who  said, 
'  Why  did  you  fire  ? '  I  had  followed 
Dhyan  Singh,  and  stood  immediately 


1898.] 


A  Soldier  of  Fortune  in  the  East. 


127 


behind  him.  He  simply  showed  his 
right  hand  (on.  which  he  had  two 
thumbs)  and  put  his  finger  to  his 
lips.  On  seeing  the  well-known  pe- 
culiarity the  subadar  whispered,  '  Lie 
down,'  and  the  whole  of  the  two 
companies  noiselessly  lay  down  at 
full  length  and  pretended  sleep.  The 
subadar  then  pointed  with  a  mute 
gesture  to  the  room  of  the  doomed 
man,  the  door  of  which  had  been 
left  ajar.  There  was  a  light  in  the 
room.  Dhyan  Singh  approached  and 
entered  it,  followed  by  the  whole 
party.  Lo  !  there  sat  Maharaja 
Kharrak  Singh  on  his  bed  washing 
his  teeth.  The  adjoining  bed,  which 
belonged  to  diet  Singh,  was  empty. 
When  asked  where  his  Minister  was, 
Kharrak  Singh  simply  replied  that 
he  had  gone  out  on  hearing  a  shot 
fired. 

"  Perceiving  a  fierce  sort  of  half 
smile  light  up  the  faces  of  the  Dogra 
brothers,  he  begged  that  Chet  Singh's 
life  might  be  spared,  and  would  have 
proved  very  restive  had  not  his  own 
son  and  some  four  or  five  Sikhs  held 
him  down  while  we  proceeded  in 
search  of  the  fugitive.  Two  torches 
had  to  be  lit,  and  on  entering  the 
room  where  we  expected  to  find  the 
Minister  it  appeared  to  be  empty  : 
it  was  very  long  and  narrow.  Lai 
Singh,  however,  called  out  that  he 
saw  the  glitter  of  a  sword  in  one 
corner,  and  there  cowered  the  wretch- 
ed man,  his  hand  upon  his  sword. 
We  were  armed  only  with  daggers. 
The  eyes  of  Dhyan  Singh  seemed  to 
shoot  fire  as  his  gaze  alighted  and 
fixed  itself  on  his  deadly  foe.  Gulab 
Singh  was  for  interposing  to  do  the 
deed  of  blood  himself,  fearing  for  his 
brother  (who  was  a  short  man)  in  the 
desperate  defence  he  counted  on,  but 
Dhyan  Singh  roughly  shook  him  off, 
and,  dagger  in  hand,  slowly  advancing 
toward  his  enemy,  said,  '  The  twenty- 
four  hours  you  were  courteous  enough 
to  mention  to  me  have  not  yet  elapsed.' 
Then  with  the  spring  of  a  tiger  the 
successful  counter -plotter  dashed  at 
his  enemy  and  plunged  his  dagger 
into  his  heart,  crying  out,  '  Take  this 
in  memory  of  Ranjit  Singh.'  Dhyan 
Singh  then  turned  round  to  his  party, 
his  face  radiant  with  gratified  purpose, 
and  courteously  thanked  us  for  our 
aid." 


Besides  his  share  in  scenes  like 
these,  which  from  their  very  fre- 
quency he  seems  to  have  regarded, 
if  not  with  approval,  at  least  with 
a  sublime  indifference,  it  fell  to 
Gardner  to  take  a  leading  part 
in  one  striking  and  more  soldierly 
achievement.  As  part  of  a  deeply 
laid  plot  to  play  off  one  rival 
against  another,  the  Dogra  brothers 
organised  an  attack  on  Lahore, 
Gulab  Singh  and  Gardner  taking 
charge  of  the  defence,  while  the 
other  conspirator  led  on  the  Khalsa 
army  to  the  attack.  Gardner's 
narrative,  however,  makes  it  abun- 
dantly plain  that  the  danger  of  the 
undertaking  was  as  great  as  the 
duplicity  of  its  cause. 

"  As  the  morning  dawned  the  whole 
army  arose  and  surrounded  the  city. 
Every  gate  was  immediately  opened 
to  them  by  the  soldiers,  who,  having 
pocketed  three  lakhs  from  the  queen, 
had  made  an  equally  profitable  bargain 
with  Slier  Singh.  Destruction  stared 
us  in  the  face :  we  had  red-hot  cannon- 
balls  ready  to  blow  ourselves  and  the 
whole  city  into  the  air,  if  the  worst 
came  to  the  worst.  Two  heavy  siege- 
trains  of  forty  guns  each  were  laid 
against  the  fort,  while  no  less  than 
eighty  hoi'se  -  artillery  pieces  were 
drawn  up  on  the  broad  road  immedi- 
ately in  front  of  us  on  the  city  side, 
which  position  they  were  peaceably 
allowed  to  take  up  by  the  treacherous 
troops.  .  .  .  Gulab  Singh  was  now 
summoned  to  surrender.  Every  mo- 
ment we  expected  to  see  the  spark  of 
a  port-fire  and  to  hear  the  crash  of  the 
cannonade.  Gulab  Singh's  keen  eyes 
peered  anxiously  through  the  open- 
ings :  still  there  was  no  noise,  and  not 
a  musket  tired.  I  then  sidled  down 
the  archway  to  look  through  the  chink 
of  the  Hazuri  Bagh  gate,  which  I  had 
blocked  up  with  carts,  and  saw  four- 
teen guns  deliberately  loaded,  planted 
within  20  yards,  and  aimed  straight 
at  the  gate. 

"  The  Dogras  on  the  walls  began  to 
look  over,  and  were  jeered  at  by  Sher 
Singh's  troops.  The  little  fort  was 
surrounded  by  a  sea  of  human  heads. 
Gulab  Singh  made  contemptuous 


128 


A  Soldier  of  Fortune  in  the  East. 


[July 


replies,  and  roared  out  to  Sher  Singh, 
demanding  that  he  should  surrender. 
There  was  a  brief  but  breathless  pause, 
and    I    had  not    time    to  warn   my 
artillerymen  to  clear  out  of  the  way 
when  down  came  the  gates  over  our 
party,  torn  to  shreds  by  the  simul- 
taneous discharge  ofL  all  the  fourteen 
guns.     Seventeen  of  my  party  were 
blown  to  pieces,  parts  of  the  bodies 
flying  over  me.     When  I  had  wiped 
the  blood  and  brains  from  my  face, 
and  could  recover  a  moment,  I  saw 
only  one    little    trembling   Klasi.     I 
hurriedly  asked  him   for  a  port-fire, 
having  lost  mine    in  the    fall  of  the 
ruins.     He  had  just  time  to  hand  it 
me,  and  I  had  crept  under  my  two 
guns,   when  with   a  wild    yell  some 
300  Akalis  swept  up  the  Hazuri  Bagh 
and   crowded   into   the   gate.      They 
were  packed  as  close  as  fish,  and  could 
hardly  move  over  the  heaps  of  wood 
and  stone,  the  rubbish  and  the  carts, 
with  which  the  gateway  was  blocked. 
Just    at    that    moment,    when    the 
crowd    were    rushing    on    us,    their 
swords  high  in  the  air,  I  managed  to 
fire  the  two  guns,  and  literally  blew 
them   into   the    air.      In    the   pause 
which   followed   I    loaded   the    guns 
with    the    aid   of    the    three   of  my 
artillerymen  who   survived,  and   our 
next  discharge  swept  away  the  hostile 
artillerymen  who  were  at  the  fourteen 
guns     outside,    who     had    remained 
standing  perfectly  paralysed   by  the 
destruction  of  the  Akalis.     Then  Sher 
Singh     fled,    and     grievous    carnage 
commenced.       The     Dogras,     always 
excellent  marksmen,  seemed  that  day 
not   to   miss   a  man  from  the  walls. 
The  whole  of  the  artillerymen  round 
the  field-pieces  in  front  of  us  strewed 
the  ground.     In  the  Hazuri  Bagh  we 
counted  the  bodies  of   110   less    than 
2800  soldiers,  200  artillerymen,  and 
180  horses.     And  now  the  whole  park 
of  artillery  opened  upon  us  that  day, 
and  for    the   three    days    following, 
tearing  the  walls  of  the  fort  to  rags. 
They  mounted   their  heavy  guns  on 
high  houses,  the  walls  of  which  they 
pierced  to  command  the  fort.     Many 
a   time   did   Sher   Singh    attempt    a 
parley  ;    but  Gulab    Singh  knew  his 
countrymen  too  well   to  believe  any 
protestations.     He  said,  '  Wait  until 
Dhyan   Singh  comes.'     At  last   that 


noble  Minister  did  arrive,  furious,  as 
it  seemed,  with  Sher  Singh  for  his 
rashness  ;  and  after  protracted  delay, 
the  firing  on  both  sides  was  finally 
subdued.  Our  bombardment  was 
over,  and  the  brothers  arranged  terms 
of  peace." 

The  following  year  Dhyan  Singh 
was  brutally  murdered,  and  Gard- 
ner was  foremost  among  his  aven- 
gers. The  youthful  widow  refused 
to  mount  the  pyre  until  she  saw 
the  heads  of  the  two  murderers, 
and  it  was  Gardner's  hands  that 
laid  them  at  her  dead  husband's 
feet ;  whereupon  she  smilingly  lit 
the  funeral  pyre  and  perished 
before  the  eyes  of  the  soldiery, 
with  her  favourite  handmaiden  in 
her  arms.  The  Rani  Jindan,  the 
youngest  and  favourite  wife  of 
Ranjit  Singh,  now  became  regent, 
and  Gardner,  as  one  of  the  party  of 
the  murdered  chief 's  brother,  Gulab 
Singh,  supported  her  and  her  son, 
Dhulip  Singh.  In  1845  her  worth- 
less brother  and  adviser,  who  had 
earned  the  detestation  of  the  Sikhs, 
was  summoned  before  the  assem- 
bled army,  when  still  another 
tragedy  was  enacted  : — 

"  He  came  out  on  an  elephant,  hold- 
ing in  his  arms  his  nephew,  the  young 
Maharaja  Dhulip  Singh,  the  last  sur- 
vivor of  the  line  of  Ranjit  Singh.  The 
Maharani  Jindan  accompanied  him  on 
another  elephant.  Jawahir  Singh  had 
an  escort  of  400  horsemen,  and  two 
elephant-loads  of  rupees  with  which 
to  tempt  the  army.  As  soon  as  the 
cavalcade  left  the  fort  an  ominous 
salute  ran  along  the  immense  line  of 
the  army — 180  guns  were  fired.  A 
roll-call  was  beat,  and  not  a  man  of 
that  great  host  was  absent.  So 
terribly  stern  was  their  discipline 
that,  after  the  salute  had  died  away, 
not  a  sound  was  to  be  heard  but  the 
trampling  of  the  feet  of  the  royal 
cavalcade. 

"  Dhulip  Singh  was  received  with 
royal  honours ;  his  mother,  the  Maha- 
rani Jindan,  in  -miserable  terror  for 
her  brother,  was  seated  on  her  golden 


1898.] 


A  Soldier  of  Fortune  in  the  East. 


129 


hauda,  dressed  in  white  Sikh  clothes 
and  closely  veiled.  As  soon  as  the 
procession  reached  the  middle  of  the 
line  one  man  came  forward  and  cried 
out '  Stop,'  and  at  his  single  voice  the 
whole  procession  paused.  A  tremor 
ran  through  the  host :  many  expected 
a  rescue  on  the  part  of  the  French 
brigade  ;  but  not  a  man  stirred.  The 
great  Panch  (Military  Council)  was 
still  sitting  on  the  right  of  the  line. 
Four  battalions  were  now  ordered  to 
the  front,  and  removed  Jawahir 
Singh's  escort  to  a  distance.  Then 
another  battalion  marched  up  and 
surrounded  the  elephants  of  the  royal 
personages.  Ten  of  the  Council  then 
came  forward  ;  the  Rani's  elephant 
was  ordered  to  kneel  down,  and  she  her- 
self was  escorted  to  a  small  but  beau- 
tiful tent  prepared  for  her  close  by. 

"  Then  a  terrible  scene  took  place. 
The  Rani  was  dragged  away,  shrieking 
to  the  army  to  spare  her  brother. 
Jawahir  Singh  was  next  ordered  to 
descend  from  his  elephant.  He  lost 
his  head,  attempted  to  parley,  and  a 
tall  Sikh  slapped  his  face  and  took 
the  boy  Dhulip  Singh  from  his  arms, 
asking  him  how  he  dared  to  disobey 
the  Khalsa.  Dhulip  Singh  was  placed 
in  his  mother's  arms,  and  she,  hiding 
herself  behind  the  walls  of  her  tent, 
held  the  child  up  above  them  in  view 
of  the  army,  crying  for  mercy  for  her 
brother  in  the  name  of  her  son.  Sud- 
denly, hearing  a  yell  of  agony  from  a 
well-known  voice,  she  flung  the  child 
away  in  an  agony  of  grief  and  rage. 
Fortunately  he  was  caught  by  a  sol- 
dier, or  the  consequences  might  have 
been  fatal. 

"  Meanwhile  the  bloody  work  had 
been  done  on  the  hated  Minister.  A 
soldier,  who  had  presumably  received 
his  orders,  had  gone  up  the  ladder 
placed  by  Jawahir  Singh's  elephant, 
stabbed  him  with  his  bayonet,  and 
flung  him  upon  the  ground,  where  he 
was  despatched  in  a  moment  with 
fifty  wounds." 

The  Rani  now  determined  to  be 
revenged,  and  resolved  on  the 
heroic  expedient  of  destroying  the 
army  by  hurling  it  against  the 
British.  Accordingly  the  Sikh 
army  crossed  the  Sutlej  in  De- 
cember 1845.  The  Rani,  who  was 

VOL.  CLXIV. — NO.  DCCCCXCIII. 


in  correspondence  with  the  British, 
feigned  a  deep  concern  for  her  un- 
fortunate troops,  who  were  starv- 
ing for  want  of  the  rations  that 
were  purposely  withheld.  On  one 
notable  occasion,  when  they  had 
subsisted  for  three  days  on  grain 
and  raw  carrots,  the  army  sent  a 
deputation  of  five  hundred  Sikhs 
to  Lahore  to  demand  redress  of 
their  grievances. 

" '  I  was  standing,'  says  Gardner, 
'  close  to  the  Rani,  and  could  see  the 
gesticulations  and  movements  of  the 
deputation.  In  answer  to  the  urgent 
and  loud  complaints  of  the  sacrifice 
to  which  the  army  was  exposed,  she 
said  that  Gulab  Singh  had  forwarded 
vast  supplies.  '  No,  he  has  not,' 
roared  the  deputation  ;  '  we  know  the 
old  fox  :  he  has  not  sent  breakfast  for 
a  bird  (chiria-ki-haziri).'  Further 
parley  ensued,  the  tempers  of  both 
parties  waxing  wroth.  At  last  the 
deputation  said,  '  Give  us  powder  and 
shot.'  At  this  I  saw  some  movement 
behind  the  purdah  (the  little  Dhulip 
was  seated  in  front  of  it).  I  could 
detect  that  the  Rani  was  shifting  her 
petticoat ;  I  could  see  that  she  stepped 
out  of  it,  and  then  rolling  it  up 
rapidly  into  a  ball,  flung  it  over  the 
screen  at  the  heads  of  the  angry 
envoys,  crying  out,  '  Wear  that,  you 
cowards  !  I'll  go  in  trousers  and  fight 
myself ! ' " 

The  situation  was  saved,  and 
the  mutineers  retired  to  the  army, 
vowing  to  die  for  the  Rani  and  her 
son.  The  end  of  the  tragi-comedy 
was  not  long  in  coming.  Early  in 
1846  the  British  entered  Lahore, 
and  on  March  8  a  treaty  of 
peace  was  ratified,  whereby  Dhulip 
Singh  renounced  his  claim  to  terri- 
tory south  of  the  Sutlej,  and  re- 
cognised the  independence  of  Gulab 
Singh,  whom  the  British  appointed 
Maharaja  of  Kashmir  and  Jammu. 
The  poor  Rani,  who  in  after-years 
was  banished,  had  a  vanity  not  a 
whit  inferior  to  her  courage.  She 
carefully  inspected  the  portraits 
of  the  British  officers,  and  it  is 

i 


130 


A  Soldier  of  Fortune  in  the  East. 


[July 


said  that  she  finally  selected  one, 
whose  name  is  unrecorded,  whom 
she  proposed  to  honour  by  making 
him  the  stepfather  of  her  son,  the 
Maharaja  Dhulip  Singh. 

Gardner  had  escaped  taking  any 
active  part  in  the  Sikh  war,  and  on 
the  conclusion  of  peace  his  enemies 
in  the  council  of  regency  caused 
his  expulsion  from  Lahore.  Subse- 
quently he  was  allowed  again  to 
enter  the  service  of  Gulab  Singh 
in  Kashmir,  where  he  was  placed 
in  command  of  the  artillery  and  a 
regiment  of  foot  at  a  salary  of  five 
hundred  rupees  a-month.  Of  Gulab 
Singh  Gardner  gives  a  curiously 
minute  description  ;  and  the 
strangest  part  of  it  is,  that  it  was 
published  in  his  ruler's  lifetime 
without  giving  offence.  Gardner 
certainly  took  no  pains  to  conceal 
his  hero's  warts,  calling  him  round- 
ly, "the  Jack  -  of  -  all  -  trades,  the 
usurer,  the  turn-penny,  the  briber 
and  the  bribed,"  besides  charging 
him  with  innumerable  barbarities. 
The  fact  is,  however,  that  Gulab 
rather  prided  himself  on  his  vices, 
and  felt  grateful  to  Gardner  for 
the  delicate  compliment  of  paint- 
ing him  so  black,  though  it  must 
also  be  said  that  Gardner  did  not 
fail  to  emphasise  the  undoubted 
bravery  and  political  sagacity  of 
his  chief.  For  thirty  years,  until 
his  death  at  Jammu  in  1877, 
Gardner  lived  in  Kashmir  "  in 
good  style,  after  the  native  fashion, 
being,  from  long  habit,  a  complete 
Oriental."  He  had  already  passed 
through  scenes  more  stirring  than 
usually  fall  to  the  lot  of  the  hero 
of  fiction,  and  the  evening  of  his 
life  was  spent  in  fighting  his 
battles  over  again  before  wonder- 
ing groups  of  Sikh  and  British 
visitors,  who  marvelled  to  hear 
the  old  soldier  recounting  his 
share  in  events  that  had  already 
entered  the  category  of  history. 
One  curious  fact  seems  to  have 
impressed  itself  on  his  visitors, 


including  the  present  Maharaja 
of  Kashmir,  namely,  his  strange 
habit  of  clutching  his  neck  with 
an  iron  pincer  while  drinking, — 
the  result  of  a  severe  wound  in 
the  neck.  An  English  officer,  who 
visited  Gardner  in  his  later  days, 
has  given  us  a  word-picture  of  the 
veteran  that  throws  some  light 
on  the  portrait  which  forms  the 
striking  frontispiece  of  this  re- 
markable volume : — 

"  I  can  perfectly  recollect  my  first 
interview  with  him.  He  walked  into 
Cooper's  reception-room  one  morning, 
a  most  peculiar  and  striking  appear- 
ance, clothed  from  head  to  foot  in  the 
79th  tartan,  but  fashioned  by  a  native 
tailor.  Even  his  pagri  was  of  tartan, 
and  it  was  adorned  with  the  egret's 
plume,  only  allowed  to  persons  of  high 
rank." 

Than  this  the  most  exorbitant  of 
critics  could  wish  no  more  pictur- 
esque closing  glimpse  of  one  in 
whose  career  picturesqueness  and 
romance  were  blended  in  a  man- 
ner that  has  probably  been  seldom 
equalled. 

To  us  it  seems  an  idle  and  fruit- 
less question  to  consider  the  moral 
value  of  the  life  which  we  have 
endeavoured  here  to  outline.  The 
sword  which  did  good  and  loyal 
service  in  support  of  many  differ- 
ent causes  might  in  happier  cir- 
cumstances have  gained  for  its 
owner  a  niche  in  the  annals  of  a 
country's  history  ;  but,  as  we  have 
said,  this  is  the  unavoidable  penalty 
attaching  to  a  career  of  ubiquitous 
adventure.  Judged,  however,  by 
its  own  narrow  ethical  code,  Gard- 
ner's career  is  worthy  of  all  praise, 
for  he  was  ever  loyal  to  his  cause, 
and  his  sword  was  never  drawn  at 
the  cost  of  honour  for  the  sake 
of  personal  aggrandisement.  The 
attachment  and  respect  which  he 
gained  from  his  employers  and 
associates  seem  to  us  sufficient 
proof  of  his  remarkable  personal 
qualities ;  and  for  the  rest,  it  is 


1898.] 


A  t  the  Fall  of  the  Curtain. 


131 


significant  that,  though  placed  in 
a  highly  difficult  position,  he  not 
only  never  forfeited  the  respect, 
but  actually  gained  the  esteem,  of 
the  Europeans  with  whom  he  was 
brought  into  contact.  Not  the 
Least  remarkable  feature  of  the 
book  before  us  is  the  excellence  of 
its  literary  style.  Major  Pearse 
has  realised  the  function  of  an 
editor  with  unusual  moderation 
and  sagacity,  and  while  he  has 
added  everything  that  could  be 
desired  in  the  matter  of  explana- 
tion and  elucidation,  he  has  wisely 
allowed  Gardner  to  tell  his  won- 


derful story  for  the  most  part  in 
his  own  words.  Curiously  enough, 
the  old  soldier,  who  for  so  many 
years  spoke  every  language  but 
his  own,  and  whose  own  name 
even  at  last  sounded  strangely  in 
his  ears,  wielded  no  ordinary 
powers  of  style,  and  his  almost 
incredible  story  has  now  been 
given  us  with  a  vigour  and  force- 
ful simplicity  that  are  beyond  the 
reach  of  art.  The  story  of  Gard- 
ner was  worth  telling,  and  it  is 
matter  for  congratulation  that  the 
soldier  of  fortune  is  his  own  his- 
torian. 


AT    THE    FALL    OF    THE     CURTAIN. 

(To  C.  J.  W.  D.) 

THE  curtain's  falling,  and  the  lights  burn  low, 

So,  with  God's  help,  I'm  ready  now  to  go. 

I've  seen  life's  melodrama,  paid  the  price, 

Have  known  its  loves  and  losses,  hopes  and  fears, 

The  laughter  and  the  tears, 

And  now,  God  knows,  I  would  not  see  it  twice. 

I've  crossed  life's  ocean,  faced  its  blinding  foam, 
But  now  heaven  whispers,  I  am  nearing  home, 
And  though  a  storm-tossed  hull  I  reach  the  shore, 
A  thing  of  tattered  sheets  and  broken  spars, 
Naked  against  the  stars, 
I  soon  shall  be  at  peace  for  ever  more. 

For  if  again  I  pass  these  waters  through, 

I  know  the  kingdom  I  am  sailing  to. 

What  boots  it  where  I  lie  1 — beneath  the  sod, 

Or  down  the  dark  impenetrable  deep, 

Where  wayworn  seamen  sleep  1 

All  gates  are  good  through  which  we  pass  to  God. 


J.  B.  S. 


132 


Pioneers  of  Commerce. 


[July 


PIONEERS    OF    COMMERCE. 


THAT  our  interest  in  China  is 
commercial  is  in  a  fair  way  to  pass 
into  a  truism  ;  but  the  complemen- 
tary proposition  that  it  is  "  not 
territorial "  is  being  every  day 
discredited  by  events,  of  which 
the  latest  is  the  welcome  but 
essential  addition  to  the  defensible 
area  of  our  island  colony  of  Hong- 
Kong.  Our  interest  is  not  terri- 
torial, of  course,  in  the  sense  of 
owning  and  governing,  yet  it  is 
territorial  in  the  sense  of  improv- 
ing, exploiting,  saving  perhaps 
from  anarchy  or  hostile  appropria- 
tion. The  epigrammatic  summing 
up  of  British  policy  in  China  which 
was  put  in  circulation,  by  authority, 
in  the  beginning  of  this  year  was 
characteristic  of  that  insular  point 
of  view  which  has  exercised  such 
a  remarkable  influence  not  only  on 
our  foreign  trade  but  on  our  whole 
imperial  development.  The  ac- 
quisition of  territory  has  always, 
in  spite  of  some  appearances  to 
the  contrary,  been  against  the 
grain.  We  are  a  seafaring  race, 
and  a  maritime  Power.  If  they 
were  not  in  our  blood,  tradition 
has  fixed  these  truths  deeply  in 
the  national  mind,  almost  to  the 
exclusion  of  the  necessary  com- 
plement and  counterbalance.  It 
needed  only  the  inspiring  works 
of  Captain  Mahan  to  put  our  Sea 
Power  in  danger  of  degenerating 
into  a  fetish.  With  many  of  our 
publicists,  even  those  who  take 
themselves  most  seriously,  "  Build 
more  ships "  is  the  one  panacea 
against  national  perils.  Nor  is 
there  any  cry,  we  are  rejoiced  to 
say,  which  more  easily  reaches  the 
public  ear.  It  is  quite  remarkable 
to  what  an  extent  this  maritime 
idea  has  biassed  our  habits  of 
thought  and  influenced  our  na- 


tional enterprise.  English  people 
hardly  conceive  of  commerce  ex- 
cept in  association  with  bills  of 
lading  and  marine  insurance.  The 
sea  has  no  terror  for  the  adven- 
turer, while  the  land  is  full  of 
peril.  "  Trade  routes  "  are  in- 
stinctively relegated  to  the  high 
and  dry  discussions  of  Societies, 
while  "ocean  highways"  seem  to 
touch  a  chord  in  the  popular  senti- 
ment. This  characteristic  of  ours 
was  quaintly  noted  in  the  early 
days  of  our  intercourse  by  the 
Chinese,  who  represented  us  as 
marine  monsters  invulnerable  to 
attack,  because  we  dived  under 
water  when  threatened. 

It  is,  however,  in  its  effects  on 
our  commerce  that  we  wish  par- 
ticularly to  consider  the  insular 
bias.  Overland  trade  is  alien  to 
our  habits  and  tastes  :  the  caravan 
has  no  attraction  for  us  unless 
embalmed  in  fiction — it  seems  to 
belong  to  another  world.  Occa- 
sionally, indeed,  some  rare  English- 
man, like  Shaw,  who  penetrated 
as  a  trader  to  Kashgar,  carries  his 
enterprise  into  continental  in- 
teriors ;  but  it  takes  no  root  there, 
and  dies  with  the  projector.  Other 
exceptions  might  be  mentioned, 
as  in  Africa  and  Australia,  which 
only  prove  the  rule.  The  broad 
fact  remains  that  we  willingly 
resign  the  commerce  of  the  land 
to  those  whose  tastes  lie  that  way  ; 
and  this  broad  fact  has  perhaps 
more  to  do  than  is  usually  sup- 
posed with  the  hold  which  Ger- 
mans have  obtained  of  the  inland 
trade  in  Mexico,  South  America, 
and  even  in  British  India.  They 
penetrate  into  the  interior,  while 
the  British  merchant  prefers  to 
liquidate  his  ventures  on  the  sea- 
coast.  Similarly,  we  intersect  all 


1898.] 


Pioneers  of  Commerce. 


133 


ocean  beds  with  telegraph  cables, 
while  railway  construction  in 
foreign  parts  is  left  in  the  hands 
of  our  Continental  rivals,  and  we 
are  most  reluctant  even  to  connect 
our  own  territories  by  rail. 

Nowhere  is  the  influence  of  the 
maritime  idea  on  trade  more  potent 
than  in  China,  as  is  shown  by  the 
whole  course  of  its  development. 
And  it  is  precisely  there  that  events 
are  proving  the  inadequacy  of  the 
idea.  The  discovery  has  been 
forced  upon  us  that  there  is  land 
as  well  as  water  in  the  Far  East ; 
that  the  value  even  of  an  "open 
door "  depends  a  good  deal  on 
where  it  leads  to ;  and  that  if  our 
"  control  stops  with  the  shore  "  as 
hitherto,  our  trade  will  be  in  a 
parlous  state.  For  it  is  the  land 
and  not  the  sea  which  produces 
the  material  for  commerce.  The 
land  is  self-supporting,  which  can 
hardly  be  said  of  the  ocean  from 
the  economic  point  of  view. 

We  have  only  to  follow  the 
several  stages  of  the  development 
of  our  Chinese  commerce  to  see 
clearly  how  its  expansion  has 
been  restricted  by  the  maritime 
idea.  The  first  advance  on  the 
conclusion  of  the  war  of  1839-42 
was  the  opening  of  five  seaports. 
The  second,  in  1858,  was  the  open- 
ing of  more  seaports,  with  the 
addition  of  three  riverine  ports. 
The  third  marked  the  opening  of 
the  great  trading  mart  of  Western 
China,  Chung  King;  but  with 
the  characteristic  proviso  that 
steamers  should  be  able  to  ascend 
the  Yangtze  to  that  point.  Other 
ports  were  subsequently  opened 
on  the  coast  and  the  Great  River, 
until  the  process  was  quite  over- 
done ;  and  during  the  present  year 
the  opening  of  ports  has  been  still 
further  overdone,  so  far  at  least  as 


the  interests  of  pure  commerce  are 
concerned.  The  effect  is  like  that 
of  digging  too  many  wells,  —  the 
water  in  each  is  lowered  in  pro- 
portion to  the  number  sunk. 

By  bearing  in  mind  these  general 
considerations  we  shall  the  better 
appreciate  the  labours  of  some  re- 
cent pioneers  of  commerce  in  the 
Far  East,  who  have  been  explor- 
ing the  hinterland  of  our  Chinese 
trade.  (Observe  in  passing  that  the 
borrowing  of  this  word  from  our 
Continental  neighbours  is  an  ac- 
knowledgment not  so  much  of  the 
poverty  of  our  language  as  of  the 
unfamiliarity  of  terrestrial  com- 
merce.) One  of  the  most  valuable 
papers  ever  issued  by  the  Foreign 
Office  is  the  record  of  a  voyage  of 
commercial  discovery  into  the  in- 
terior of  China.1  The  author  had 
already  made  his  mark  both  as  a 
geographical  and  commercial  ex- 
plorer, and  his  previous  work  was 
singled  out  for  special  commenda- 
tion by  Baron  F.  von  Richthofen, 
the  highest  living  authority,  in  a 
conversation  with  the  present 
writer  a  short  time  ago.  A  great 
merit  of  Mr  Bourne  is  his  original 
and  philosophical  way  of  connect- 
ing patient  observation  of  facts 
with  bold  generalisation,  thereby 
imparting  a  refreshing  air  of 
actuality  to  his  conclusions,  and 
even  to  his  hypotheses.  The 
practical  value  of  his  recent  ex- 
plorations in  Southern,  Western, 
and  Central  China,  extending  over 
a  period  of  eight  months,  is  greatly 
enhanced  by  his  having  been 
associated  with  two  textile  experts 
from  Lancashire.  Mr  Bourne's  re- 
port is  therefore  of  the  highest 
authority. 

The  expedition  originated  in  a 
long -felt  want.  For  many  years 
the  constricted  monotony  of  our 


1  Report  on  the  Trade  of  Central  and  Southern  China. 
Bourne. 


By  Consul  F.  S.  A. 


134 


Pioneers  of  Commerce. 


[July 


China  trade  had  been  remarked 
upon.  Though  the  total  volume 
tended  automatically  to  increase, 
yet,  considering  the  vast  popula- 
tion and  the  variety  of  soil  and 
climate,  both  imports  into  and  ex- 
ports from  China  remained  limited 
to  surprisingly  few  staples.  The 
causes  of  this  stereotyped  rigidity 
had  been  surmised,  and  from  time 
to  time  appeal  was  made  to  the 
commercial  classes  in  Great  Britain 
and  other  manufacturing  countries 
to  try  whether  a  closer  acquaint- 
ance with  Chinese  wants  and  pro- 
ducts might  not  lead  to  an  exten- 
sion of  the  trade  by  multiplication 
of  the  number  of  commodities 
which  composed  it.  Such  appeals 
fell,  as  might  have  been  expected, 
on  deaf  ears.  It  needs  a  convul- 
sion to  jolt  a  community  out  of  a 
rut ;  and  the  convulsion  at  length 
came.  The  Japanese  war  and  its 
sequel  have  drawn  general  atten- 
tion to  the  condition  of  China, 
and  one  of  the  results  has  been 
the  despatch  of  commercial  mis- 
sions of  discovery  from  France, 
Germany,  and  Great  Britain.  The 
British  mission  was  cold-shouldered 
by  all  the  manufacturing  and  com- 
mercial bodies  in  the  country,  so 
that  the  whole  burden  of  it  fell 
upon  one  single  community,  that 
of  Blackburn.  This  not  only  re- 
stricted the  scope  of  the  inquiries 
to  one  particular  manufacturing  in- 
terest— that  of  cotton  goods — lout 
to  a  special  section  even  of  that, 
for  representative  Manchester  suc- 
ceeded in  proving  to  its  own  sat- 
isfaction that  it  already  knew  all 
that  was  worth  knowing  about 
the  internal  commerce  of  China. 
The  two  experts,  Mr  Neville  and 
Mr  Bell,  selected  by  the  Black- 
burn Chamber  of  Commerce,  under 
the  enlightened  leadership  of  Mr 


Henry  Harrison,  were  placed  under 
the  guidance  of  the  man  of  all 
others  best  qualified  for  the  office, 
Mr  Consul  Bourne,  whose  services 
were  lent  for  the  occasion  by  the 
Foreign  Office.  The  commercial 
delegates  are  understood  to  be 
preparing  their  report,  which  will 
deal  with  the  technical  matters 
which  came  under  their  observa- 
tion ;  while  Mr  Bourne  has  antici- 
pated them  by  the  publication  of 
his  separate  report,  dealing  with 
the  more  general  questions  which 
their  most  interesting  journey  sug- 
gested. 

The  Foreign  Office  is  also  to  be 
congratulated  on  the  issue  of  a 
supplementary  report  by  a  junior 
consular  officer,1  doing  for  the 
northern  portion  of  the  great 
province  of  Ssu-ch'uan  something 
of  what  Mr  Bourne  has  done  for 
the  more  southerly  regions.  Mr 
Litton  makes  many  shrewd  and 
sensible  observations  both  on  trade 
and  economics,  and  on  more  gene- 
ral matters  affecting  the  inter- 
course of  foreigners  with  Chinese 
in  the  interior  of  the  country. 
His  name  is  not  familiar  to  us,  and 
we  are  the  more  pleased  to  recog- 
nise an  addition  to  the  ranks  of 
capable  young  men  in  the  consular 
staff,  from  whom  valuable  services 
may  be  expected  in  the  develop- 
ment of  British  interests  in 
China. 

Simultaneously  with  the  explora- 
tions of  the  Blackburn  mission  and 
of  Mr  Litton,  there  have  been  some 
practical  pioneers  in  the  field,  men 
who  not  only  point  the  way  but 
follow  it.  Of  these  two  in  particu- 
lar merit  honourable  mention.  Mr 
W.  F.  Wenyon,  who  has  travelled 
extensively  in  the  interior  of 
China,  and  opened  up  direct  busi- 
ness relations  with  traders  in  many 


1  Report  of  a  Journey  to  North  Ssu-ch'uan. 
Majesty's  consular  service  in  China. 


By  Mr  G.  J.  L.  Litton,  of  Her 


1898.] 


Pioneers  of  Commerce. 


135 


remote  cities,  and  who  communi- 
cated some  of  the  results  of  his  ex- 
periences to  the  Royal  Colonial 
Institute  on  May  24,  has  proved 
the  possibility  of  liberating  our 
commerce  from  the  fetters  which 
have  hitherto  restricted  it  at  the 
seaports. 

Then  that  grand  desideratum  on 
which  so  many  possibilities  have 
hinged,  steam  on  the  Upper 
Yangtze,  has  at  length  been  sup- 
plied, at  least  experimentally,  by 
the  dogged  perseverance  of  a 
single  man,  Mr  Archibald  Little. 
Through  years  of  discouragement, 
mainly  from  the  British  Govern- 
ment and  its  representatives,  that 
typical  pioneer  has  devoted  himself 
to  the  problem  of  taking  a  steam- 
vessel  through  the  formidable 
rapids  above  Ichang,  and  has 
recently  succeeded  in  reaching  the 
great  emporium  of  Western  China, 
Chung  King.  Thus  the  chief  physi- 
cal obstacle  to  the  development  of 
commerce  with  the  rich  and  popu- 
lous west  of  China  bids  fair  to  be 
removed.  Important  results  may 
be  expected  to  follow  these  success- 
ful experiments  of  Mr  Wenyon's 
and  Mr  Little's. 

With  these  first-fruits  as  a 
pledge  of  the  harvest  that  is  wait- 
ing, the  report  of  the  Blackburn 
mission  assumes  an  importance 
greater  than  that  of  an  academical 
study.  It  is  eminently  and  im- 
mediately practical.  Mr  Bourne's 
reasoned  conclusions  from  data 
observed  reflect  as  much  light  on 
the  operation  of  the  experimental 
pioneers  as  these  do  on  the  broad 
generalisations  of  the  Blackburn 
mission.  They  all  show  that  we 
have  reached  a  new  and  highly 
interesting  stage  in  our  commercial 
expansion  in  China,  concerning 
which  our  traders  have  yet  much 
to  learn, — and  in  Mr  Bourne's 
opinion  something  also  to  unlearn. 
We  might  even  go  further  and  say 


that  in  order  that  this  country 
may  reap  the  advantage  of  the 
openings  that  exist  for  enterprise 
in  China,  a  new  class  of  traders 
and  a  new  order  of  industrial 
adventurers  must  be  brought  on 
the  scene,  who  are  untrammelled 
by  the  limiting  traditions  which 
cling  to  the  lineal  successors  of  the 
East  India  Company,  and  of  the 
merchant  princes  who  held  sway 
on  the  China  coast  in  the  gene- 
ration which  succeeded  the  first 
war. 

The  opening  of  China  which 
now  presents  itself  is  by  two 
avenues,  one  old  and  one  new. 
To  the  new  order  belong  industrial 
concessions,  including  mining,  rail- 
ways, and  manufactories.  The  old 
way  is  that  of  ordinary  traffic  in 
commodities,  in  which  a  consider- 
able development  seems  likely  to 
ensue,  as  much  because  it  is 
expected  as  for  any  better  reason. 
Attention  and  intention  are  con- 
centrated upon  it  sufficiently  to 
cause  a  movement,  as  when  a  num- 
ber of  hands  are  placed  round  a 
table,  where  the  will  tends  to  its 
own  fulfilment.  Except  in  so 
far  as  steam  may  be  employed  in 
transport,  the  opening  is  not  so 
much  that  of  a  new  path  as  of  a 
disused  one  over  which  the  grass 
has  been  allowed  to  grow.  For 
the  privilege  of  trading  through- 
out the  whole  of  China  has  been 
ours  by  right  for  forty  years,  but 
has  been  neglected  by  our  traders. 
So  far  as  treaties  are  concerned, 
Mr  Wenyon  and  others  might 
have  done  in  the  sixties  what  they 
have  done  in  the  nineties.  But 
our  merchants  made  a  deliberate 
retreat  from  their  outposts,  con- 
centrating their  forces  more  and 
more  on  the  two  great  emporia, 
Hong-Kong  and  Shanghai.  In 
this  policy  they  but  followed  their 
own  interests  by  the  line  of  least 
resistance.  It  is,  however,  a  per- 


136 


Pioneers  of  Commerce. 


[July 


tinent  question  to  ask,  If  such  con- 
traction of  the  sphere  of  action 
was  the  outcome  of  the  automatic 
working  of  natural  laws,  what 
ground  is  there  for  supposing  that 
the  operation  of  the  same  laws 
will  in  the  future  lead  to  its  ex- 
pansion 1  The  light  thrown  on  this 
crucial  question  constitutes  one  of 
the  chief  points  of  interest  in  the 
Blackburn  report. 

The  present  position  of  British 
commerce  in  China  is  that  our 
merchants  are  established  at  cer- 
tain "  treaty  ports,"  where  they 
land  and  ship  merchandise,  paying 
duties  under  a  fixed  tariff.  Each 
of  these  ports  is  an  emporium  for 
distribution  and  collection, — mer- 
chandise being  received  from  the 
interior  for  exportation,  and  sent 
into  the  interior  for  sale,  covered 
in  transit  by  a  special  extra  pay- 
ment of  one-half  of  the  tariff  duty, 
import  or  export  as  the  case  may 
be.  As  it  was  most  natural  to 
suppose  that  the  multiplication  of 
these  depots  would  give  better 
access  to  the  interior,  where  the 
area  to  be  covered  was  so  vast, 
every  new  diplomatic  negotiation 
with  the  Chinese  Government  has 
aimed  at  the  opening  of  more 
treaty  ports  on  the  coast,  and 
more  especially  on  the  great  cen- 
tral artery  of  China,  the  Yangtze- 
Kiang.  This  process  having  been 
in  actual  operation  for  thirty- 
seven  years,  we  are  now  in  a 
position  to  review  the  results,  to 
consider  how  far  the  system  has 
fulfilled  its  purposes  in  the  past, 
and  whether  it  is  adapted  to  serve 
the  interests  of  our  commerce 
under  the  changed  conditions  to 
which  it  will  in  future  be  sub- 
jected. 

In  the  beginning  of  the  new 
era,  in  1861,  there  was  a  rush  by 
the  commercial  houses  to  open 
branches  at  the  new  ports,  in 
some  of  which  they  invested  a 


considerable  amount  of  capital  in 
land,  business  premises,  roads,  and 
shipping   accommodation.      Coast- 
ing  and  river   steamers  were  put 
on  to  connect  the  new  ports  with 
the  central  depots  of  Hong-Kong 
and    Shanghai,    and    one    or   two 
others   which   were   accessible  to 
ocean  steamers,  and  undoubtedly 
a     considerable     development     of 
trade  was  the  result.     Before  very 
long,  however,  a  consequence  not 
very  clearly  foreseen  began  to  re- 
veal   itself.     Availing   themselves 
of   the    cheap    freight,    insurance, 
and  passage-money,  and  the  great 
facilities    offered    by    the    foreign 
steamers,    the    Chinese   gradually 
set  up  a  trade  of   their   own  be- 
tween the  outports  and  the  ocean 
emporia,     in    the    imported    mer- 
chandise    and    the    produce    for 
foreign  exportation  in  which  the 
foreign   merchants    dealt,   but    in 
direct  competition  with  the  latter. 
In  a  short  time  the  natives  pre- 
vailed, and  the  foreign  merchants 
— almost  all  English — were  ousted 
from    the    local    and    distributing 
trades.      Resigning  themselves  to 
circumstances,  those    firms   which 
had  established  themselves  at  the 
outports    one    by    one    withdrew, 
leaving  little  else  but  agencies  of 
the    steamer    lines    to    represent 
foreign  interests  in  the  new  settle- 
ments.    By   this    strategic    move- 
ment   to   the  rear  the   merchants 
were    able    to     consolidate    their 
forces  at  the  seaports,  where  they 
were  at  home,  with  great  economy 
in  their  working  expenses.     They 
found  it  both  easier  and  cheaper 
to     transact     their     business     in 
wholesale    at    the    great     marts 
than    to    operate    a    number     of 
smaller  estalishments.     And  they 
found  also  that  though  the  nearer 
access  to  the  interior  had  swollen 
the  volume  of  trade  in  the  aggre- 
gate, it  had  not  perceptibly  bene- 
fited individual  traders,  because  it 


1898.] 


Pioneers  of  Commerce. 


137 


had  encouraged  competition.  As 
the  self-same  merchandise  would 
to  all  appearance  be  equally  well 
exchanged,  the  outports  were 
abandoned,  with  little  regret,  to 
the  Chinese  traders. 

When,  therefore,  still  more  new 
ports  are  opened  in  China,  it  must 
be  understood  to  be  primarily  for 
the  benefit  of  native  traders 
making  use  of  foreign  means  of 
conveyance  and  other  facilities, 
and  secondarily  to  augment  in 
some  degree  the  whole  volume  of 
the  trade  in  foreign  goods,  but 
not  for  the  benefit  of  merchants 
already  in  the  field. 

At  this  point  certain  important 
inquiries  suggest  themselves  : — 

Why  were  the  European  mer- 
chants so  easily  beaten  by  the 
Chinese  in  the  port-to-port  trade 
in  foreign  goods  ? 

A  question  which  merges  itself 
into  the  more  general  one,  What 
are  the  hindrances  to  the  develop- 
ment of  foreign  trade  with  China 
to  an  extent  commensurate  with 
the  numbers  and  character  of  the 
population  and  the  terrestrial 
resources  of  the  country? 

Which  leads  to  the  final  ques- 
tion, What  means  are  now  avail- 
able for  the  extension  of  British 
traders'  interests  in  China? 

The  answers  to  these  queries 
must  largely  govern  the  future 
position  of  this  country  in  the 
Far  East,  and  it  therefore  behoves 
the  manufacturing  and  mercantile 
community  and  the  public  at  large 
to  give  earnest  heed  to  the  very 
thoughtful  answers  which  Mr 
Bourne  has  given  to  these  most 
interesting  questions. 

The  statesmen  and  the  mer- 
chants of  the  last  generation  who 
established  the  Chinese  trade  on 
its  present  basis  could  only  be 
guided  by  general  considerations 
of  probable  cause  and  effect,  hav- 
ing little  or  no  specific  knowledge. 


Now,  however,  we  have  not  only 
greatly  extended  our  knowledge, 
but  have  thirty  years  of  actual 
experience  to  guide  us;  and  opinions 
derived  from  personal  contact  with 
real  facts  possess  a  value  far  be- 
yond the  most  ingenious  elabora- 
tion of  statistical  tables.  The 
reasons  for  the  defeat  of  the 
foreign  merchant  at  the  Chinese 
outports  may  be  briefly  summar- 
ised from  Mr  Bourne  thus  :  They 
did  not  enter  seriously  into  the 
contest,  did  not  employ  suitable 
means,  and,  in  short,  met  their 
defeat  half-way.  The  typical 
illustration  of  the  process  is  what 
happened  at  Hankow,  the  great 
mart  of  Central  China,  situated  at 
the  confluence  of  the  most  impor- 
tant waterways,  600  miles  from 
the  sea.  Ocean  steamers  were 
able  to  reach  the  port,  and  many 
heavy  cargoes  of  tea  were  loaded 
there  direct  for  London.  If  any- 
where, therefore,  it  was  at  such 
a  commanding  point  that  the 
foreign  merchant  might  be  ex- 
pected to  establish  himself  and  to 
hold  his  own.  Yet,  except  to  the 
Russians,  who  are  firmly  located 
there  in  ever  -  increasing  force, 
Hankow  has  suffered  the  fate  of 
the  smaller  outports,  and  become 
for  Englishmen  little  more  than 
a  steamboat  terminus.  "  For  some 
years  after  1861,  when  the  port 
was  opened,  British  firms  imported 
all  the  piece-goods  sold  there  ;  now 
the  whole  import  trade  is  in  Chinese 
hands,"  says  Mr  Bourne.  And 
the  reason  was  that  the  British 
firm  being  but  a  branch  of  a 
Shanghai  firm,  could  only  show 
the  special  goods  imported  by  that 
firm.  This  offered  no  attraction 
to  the  Chinese  dealers,  who  natur- 
ally wished  to  make  their  selection 
in  the  larger  market,  and  there- 
fore the  Hankow  native  houses 
opened  their  branches  or  sent 
their  agents  to  Shanghai  to 


138 


Pioneers  of  Commerce. 


[July 


make  their  purchases  there.  The 
British  merchant  at  the  out- 
port  was  thus  left  high  and  dry. 
Neither  was  he  able  to  compete 
with  the  Chinese  in  the  next  stage 
of  the  business,  the  distribution  of 
goods  from  that  inland  centre  to 
the  remote  interior,  for  he  took  no 
pains  "  to  open  up  direct  relations 
with  the  up  -  country  native," 
obstinately  refusing,  then  as  now, 
to  learn  even  his  customer's 
language.  This  deficiency  forced 
him,  if  he  attempted  to  deal  with 
the  interior  at  all,  to  work  through 
the  very  men  who  were  his  too 
successful  competitors.  If  this 
picture  of  Mr  Bourne's  be  even  an 
approximation  to  the  reality,  it 
would  be  needless  to  seek  for 
further  reasons  why  the  British 
were  outdone  by  the  Chinese 
merchants ;  and  if  to  these  cir- 
cumstances be  added  the  fact  that 
the  branch  establishments  were  a 
considerable  financial  burden  to 
British  firms,  we  need  not  wonder 
that  their  abandonment  should 
have  been  the  only  course  open. 
One  result  of  this  concentrating 
movement  was,  of  course,  to 
diminish  the  numbers  of  indi- 
vidual Englishmen  employed  in 
the  trade,  which  have  been  prob- 
ably, however,  made  up  through 
other  causes.  In  any  case  it  was  a 
matter  of  no  great  national  im- 
portance whether  a  score  or  two 
more  or  less  of  British  subjects 
should  reside  in  China.  The  great 
point  was  that  British  merchandise 
was  disposed  of  and  Chinese  pro- 
duce exported.  British  commerce 
relapsed  into  the  passive  condition 
of  a  purely  maritime  trade,  which 
proceeded  smoothly  and  with  ease 
of  body  and  mind  to  the  trader — 
advantages  which  are  not  perhaps 
to  be  found  in  the  like  degree  in 
any  other  part  of  the  world. 
There  was  nothing  on  the  surface 
of  this  gentle  current  to  indicate 


that  the  volume  of  trade  was 
smaller  than  it  might  otherwise 
have  been.  But  on  that  subject 
Mr  Bourne  makes  some  good 
practical  suggestions. 

He  points  out,  for  one  thing, 
that  under  the  system  in  vogue 
the  British  merchant  never  comes 
into  personal  contact  with  the 
native  with  whom  he  deals,  but 
is  wholly  dependent  either  on  his 
own  Chinese  employes,  or  on  go- 
betweens,  or  on  the  employes  of 
the  native  merchant — that  is  to 
say,  on  some  one  who  speaks  the 
lingua  franca  of  the  China  coast, 
"  pigeon-English,"  the  foreigner,  as 
a  rule,  keeping  himself  as  carefully 
from  contamination  with  the  Chin- 
ese language  as  if  it  were  the  bu- 
bonic plague.  But  none  of  these 
parties,  nor  yet  the  Chinese  mer- 
chant himself  were  he  to  come 
personally  into  the  fray,  possess 
either  the  capacity  or  the  interest 
to  extend  or  improve  the  trade. 
This  is  a  point  which  deserves  the 
most  serious  attention,  for  the 
advancement  of  our  trade  turns 
upon  it.  "  The  ambition  of  the 
Celestial  merchant,"  says  Mr 
Bourne,  "  is  to  make  money  easily, 
and  in  a  groove,  in  the  way  he  has 
made  it  before."  And  he  leaves 
us  to  infer,  if  we  choose,  that  this 
description  applies  also  to  the 
foreign  merchant  of  the  present 
school ;  for  he  adds  that  "  the 
younger  men  among  foreigners, 
if  engaged  in  the  distributing 
trade,  would  try  to  introduce 
variety  and  novelty."  The  same- 
ness and  inelasticity  of  our  China 
trade  spells  stagnation.  "  Although 
we  have  almost  a  monopoly  of  the 
trade "  —  speaking  of  Western 
China  —  "  in  imported  cotton 
fabrics,  the  variety  of  our  goods 
is  very  small."  The  old-fashioned 
China  merchant  will  say,  "Well, 
that's  all  the  people  want :  if  they 
wanted  anything  else,  they  would 


1898.] 


Pioneers  of  Commerce. 


139 


find  it  in  Shanghai."  This  is,  in 
fact,  precisely  what  Manchester 
did  say  when  the  Blackburn  mis- 
sion was  being  equipped.  Mr 
Bourne,  however,  pronounces  this 
to  be  a  profound  mistake.  It  is 
leaving  all  initiative  to  the  Chin- 
ese, who,  not  on  Mr  Bourne's  testi- 
mony alone,  but  on  that  of  every 
observer  who  has  written  on  the 
subject,  "are  entirely  wanting  in 
initiative."  It  is  also  leaving 
the  labour  and  sacrifice  required 
for  originating  novelties  to  brokers 
and  others  who  live  from  hand  to 
mouth  and  from  hour  to  hour, 
and  have  no  interest  whatever 
beyond  their  daily  transactions. 
How  can  an  "  English  importer 
in  Shanghai  be  in  touch  with  a 
market  1500  miles  off"?  With 
his  habits  and  the  means  till  now 
at  his  disposal,  a  much  less  dis- 
tance would  suffice  to  shut  him  off 
from  all  knowledge  of  the  wants 
and  capacities  of  the  people.  The 
foreigners  at  present  engaged  in 
the  China  trade  have  no  interest 
either  in  varying  the  monotony  or 
extending  the  volume  of  trade, 
nor  yet  in  freeing  it  from  bur- 
dens, for  the  good  reason  that 
any  of  these  improvements  would 
induce  competition,  which  those 
who  stand  on  the  ancient  ways  are 
never  enamoured  of.  That,  never- 
theless, the  resident  merchants 
do  trouble  themselves  to  agitate 
against  illegal  exactions,  and 
do  even  advocate  improvements, 
merely  shows  that  inherited  public 
spirit  may  occasionally  assert  itself 
even  against  immediate  personal 
interest. 

An  important  question,  which 
is  thoroughly  discussed  in  Mr 
Bourne's  report,  is  the  illegal  tax- 
ation of  foreign  merchandise  pas- 
sing into  the  interior  of  China. 
As  we  have  said,  the  treaties  with 
that  country  provide  that  British 
goods,  after  paying  import  duty, 


shall  be  exempt  from  further  taxa- 
tion all  over  the  Chinese  empire 
on  a  supplementary  payment  of 
one-half  of  the  import  duty.  But 
this  treaty  provision,  as  it  affects 
British  goods  and  British  mer- 
chants, has  been  disregarded,  with 
the  connivance  of  her  Majesty's 
Government,  in  consequence  of 
which  the  exactions  of  local  of- 
ficials along  the  trade-route,  and 
at  the  termini,  constitute  a  serious 
hindrance  to  our  trade.  It  is  not 
our  immediate  purpose  to  discuss 
the  policy  of  our  Government  in 
encouraging  these  rank  abuses 
which  choke  our  country's  com- 
merce ;  but  it  is  a  little  startling 
to  be  told  by  an  English  official, 
and  in  a  paper  issued  by  the  Foreign 
Office,  that  in  those  parts  of  China 
adjacent  to  the  French  territory 
these  abuses  have  been  suppressed, 
and  that  "  the  French  have  /reed 
our  goods  f rom  Chinese  exactions." 
"  The  energy  of  the  French "  is 
highly  commended.  "Thanks  to  the 
efforts  of  the  French,  the  illegal 
charges  as  far  as  Yunnan-fu  do 
not  concern  us,"  and  so  on  through 
a  whole  section  of  the  report.  It 
must  not  be  supposed  our  neigh- 
bours take  so  much  trouble  to  pro- 
tect British  goods  from  Chinese 
taxation  out  of  quixotic  benev- 
olence. They  save  our  lambs 
from  the  claws  of  the  Chinese 
dragon  that  they  may  be  eaten  by 
the  French  tiger,  whose  bite  is 
cleaner — that  is  to  say,  they  entice 
the  goods  to  the  Toriking  route, 
where  they  can  tax  them,  by  de- 
fending them  against  taxation  after 
they  have  left  French  territory  and 
pass  into  the  Chinese  province. 
It  may  strike  some  readers  that 
there  is  another  member  of  the 
menagerie  whose  absence  from  this 
little  comedy  is  conspicuous,  and 
they  may  wonder  where  Leo 
Britannicus  comes  in.  Still,  it  is 
a  welcome  fact,  as  far  as  it  goes, 


140 


Pioneers  of  Commerce. 


[July 


that,  by  whatever  means,  British 
goods  are  in  the  province  of 
Yunnan  safe  from  Chinese  ex- 
action;  but  that  this  immunity 
in  that  distant  region  is  conferred 
on  them  by  French  power  and 
prestige  is  a  landmark  in  Chinese 
fiscal  diplomacy  which  our  country- 
men would  do  well  to  keep  steadily 
in  view.  This  far-reaching  potency 
of  the  French  is  the  more  instruc- 
tive, when  contrasted  with  the 
admitted  impotence  of  the  British 
authorities  to  protect  British  mer- 
chandise even  at  their  own  door- 
steps in  the  treaty  ports. 

The  way  our  treaty  rights  are 
sacrificed  at  these  treaty  ports, 
notably  at  Canton,  is  described  by 
Mr  Bourne  with  suppressed  hum- 
our ;  but  no  living  writer  could  do 
full  justice  to  the  theme  except 
Mr  W.  S.  Gilbert.  It  is  certainly 
beyond  our  compass.  Suffice  it  to 
say  that  there  is  a  general  complot 
to  plunder  the  merchandise,  in 
which  every  one  who  has  anything 
to  do  with  the  handling  of  it  is 
implicated.  The  British  firms  are 
in  the  hands  of  their  native  "  com- 
pradores,"  who  are  in  league  with 
the  mandarins,  and  are  usually 
themselves  farmers  of  the  illegal 
imposts.  And  having  once  sold 
his  goods  to  Chinese,  the  British 
merchant  feels  no  particular  in- 
terest in  their  fate.  The  conse- 
quence is  that  the  treaty  is  daily 
violated  with  the  coolest  impu- 
dence under  the  shadow  of  the 
British  consular  flag.  "  Between 
the  steamer  wharf  at  Canton  and 
the  foreign  customs  examination 
shed  there  is  a  li  kin  boat  moored, 
and  every  piece  of  Lancashire 
cotton,  for  example,  is  required, 
before  it  can  be  landed,  to  pay  an 
elastic  li  kin  in  addition  to  the 
tariff  import  duty."  And  Canton 
is  a  treaty  port  !  Mr  Bourne  ex- 
cuses the  supineness  of  the  consul 
by  saying  that  "  no  British  subject 


is  sufficiently  interested  to  ask  for 
consular  intervention ;  that  the 
ablest  advocate  must  have  a 
client  ;  that  the  consul  has  no 
one  to  fight  for ;  that  the  British 
merchant  ceased  to  have  any  in- 
terest in  the  maintenance  of  treaty 
rights." 

But  Mr  Bourne  promptly  fur- 
nishes an  answer  to  the  plea  for 
consular  indifference  by  pointing 
out  that  after  all  there  is  a  "client," 
only  he  is  not  en  evidence  to  cla- 
mour for  his  rights.  The  mer- 
chants resident  in  China  are  quite 
inadequate  representatives  of  the 
great  manufacturing  interest  of 
England,  and  that  is  the  interest 
which  British  consuls  are  paid  to 
defend,  the  interest  for  which  in 
like  circumstances  French  consuls 
would  fight,  for  which  indeed 
French  consuls  do  actually  fight, 
with  ease  apparently,  but  certainly 
with  success.  Yet  the  Frenchman 
does  no  more  than  vindicate  his 
treaty  rights,  which  we  are  always 
told  it  is  a  cardinal  point  of  our 
policy  to  stand  upon.  No  amount 
of  fine  pleading  about  want  of 
evidence  and  want  of  clients  can 
hide  the  fact  that  there  is  here  a 
ground  for  searching  inquiry  and 
for  drastic  remedy.  This  is  a 
matter  which  concerns  not  the 
manufacturers  alone,  but  the  opera- 
tives and  their  families,  and  the 
whole  industrial  community  of 
England.  Mr  Bourne  justly  con- 
cludes that  "  they  would  do  well 
to  watch  the  course  of  events  in 
China  very  carefully  for  themselves, 
and  should  claim  a  decided  voice 
in  determining  our  commercial 
policy,"  a  counsel  which  we  heartily 
indorse.  For  if  Governments  do 
not  consider  that  the  elementary 
duty  of  safeguarding  the  interests 
of  the  population  of  these  islands 
belongs  to  them,  and  if  the  repre- 
sentatives of  the  people  are  callous 
to  everything  that  is  not  forced 


1898.] 


Pioneers  of  Commerce. 


141 


on  their  attention,  and  if  they  and 
the  great  manufacturers  allow 
themselves  to  be  twitted  for  their 
indifference  even  by  Under-Secre- 
taries  of  State,  the  people  must  in 
the  last  resort  take  their  business 
into  their  own  hands.  But  it  is 
a  far  cry  from  the  workman's  cot- 
tage in  Lancashire  to  the  British 
consulate  at  Canton ;  it  is  hard 
for  mill-hands,  even  if  they  only 
worked  eight  hours  a  -  day,  to 
organise  vigilance  committees  to 
compel  Government  and  their  dis- 
tant agents  to  do  their  duty  ;  and 
therefore  it  is  much  to  be  feared 
that  the  interests  of  the  million 
are  too  much  diffused  to  make  it 
a  matter  of  calculated  conscien- 
tiousness for  any  official  or  any 
parliamentary  representative  to 
watch  over  them. 

Having  shown  the  weak  side  of 
British  commerce  in  China,  its  re- 
striction to  seaports,  the  subjec- 
tion of  the  merchants  to  their 
native  employes,  their  aloofness 
from  their  customers,  their  in- 
difference to  the  maintenance  of 
treaty  rights,  and  the  consequent 
limitation  and  comparative  stag- 
nation of  the  trade,  Mr  Bourne 
proceeds  to  propound  a  remedy, 
which  is  nothing  short  of  a  revolu- 
tion. None  the  worse  for  that, 
perhaps,  for  things  do  want  turn- 
ing round  from  time  to  time.  In 
effect,  his  remedy  is  that  our  trade 
from  being  passive  shall  become 
aggressive,  or,  as  we  might  venture 
to  paraphrase  it,  from  being  ex- 
clusively thalassic  should  become, 
partially  at  least,  terrestrial.  What 
is  proposed,  in  short,  is  that  in 
order  to  exploit  the  commercial 
capabilities  of  the  interior  of  China 
British  capital  and  enterprise  must 
no  longer  be  confined  to  Hong- 
Kong  and  Shanghai,  but  must 


be  boldly  planted  in  convenient 
centres  in  the  interior  of  the 
country,  whence  extensive  districts 
could  be  cultivated,  both  in  the 
way  of  finding  fresh  outlets  for 
our  manufactures  and  of  improving 
the  native  products  for  exporta- 
tion. Such  a  new  departure  would 
of  course  necessitate  an  entirely 
new  organisation  of  forces.  For 
one  thing,  the  compradoric  mill- 
stone would  have  to  be  severely 
detached,  and  the  "compradore," 
if  retained  at  all,  should  be  a  ser- 
vant, and  neither  a  master  nor  an 
incubus.  All  this  would  naturally 
involve,  on  the  part  of  the  English 
staff,  a  knowledge  of  the  Chinese 
language,  which  for  commercial 
purposes  is  by  no  means  difficult  of 
acquisition.  And  we  are  pleased 
to  have  it  from  so  competent  an 
authority  that  the  dialect  bugbear 
has  been  much  exaggerated.  "  Ex- 
cepting in  the  neighbourhood  of 
the  coast,  between  Shanghai  and 
Canton,  one  language  is  spoken 
over  the  length  and  breadth  of 
China."  It  would  appear,  therefore, 
that  it  is  with  the  language  as  it  is 
with  the  people,  the  difficulty  is 
all  at  the  beginning,  and  the  further 
you  go  the  easier  is  your  going. 
"  In  regard  to  security,  foreign  life 
and  property  are  almost  as  safe  in 
the  rich  provinces  of  China  as  in 
England."  We  would  merely  add 
one  suggestion  to  Mr  Bourne's  in- 
teresting prospectus,  that  as  it 
would  be  something  like  taking  a 
fish  out  of  its  native  element  to 
put  existing  mercantile  forces  into 
this  novel  situation,  the  new  de- 
parture might  have  to  be  under- 
taken by  entirely  new  men,  who 
have  not  been  suckled  on  the  tra- 
dition that  ignorance  is  meritor- 
ious,1 and  have  not  been  too  much 
softened  by  the  luxury  of  sea- trade. 


1  Some  of  the  leading  Englishmen  in  China  are  in  the  habit  of  declaring  that 
they  will  not  tolerate  in  their  service  any  man  who  knows  Chinese. 


142 


Pioneers  of  Commerce. 


[July 


Before  quitting  this  part  of  our 
subject,  which  is  commerce  in  its 
simplest  form,  we  must  quote  an 
important  generalisation  of  Mr 
Bourne's  as  to  the  limitation  of 
the  Chinese  commercial  capacity. 
The  people  are  far  from  parsi- 
monious, he  says,  and  will  buy  not 
necessaries  only  but  luxuries  up 
to  the  limit  of  their  means.  But 
the  country  produces  no  precious 
metal  to  speak  of,  and  can  only 
pay  for  imports  by  exports.  Hence 
it  is  as  much  in  the  interest  of 
a  manufacturing  population  as  of 
the  Chinese  themselves  to  discover, 
stimulate,  and  develop  new  pro- 
ducts. The  paucity  of  the  exports 
has  indeed  been  as  remarkable  as 
that  of  their  imports,  when  the 
great  variety  of  soil  and  climate 
and  the  industrious  habits  of  the 
people  are  considered ;  and  Mr 
Bourne  gives  some  good  reasons 
for  believing  that  British  enter- 
prise on  the  spot  would  bring  to 
light  many  sources  of  wealth 
in  the  form  of  natural  products 
now  virtually  going  to  waste.  The 
same  organisation,  indeed,  that 
would  push  and  diversify  our  im- 
ports into  the  country,  would  be 
equally  available  in  extending 
the  list  and  expanding  the  vol- 
ume of  Chinese  productions  for 
exportation.  Thus  commerce, 
like  charity,  would  be  twice 
blest. 

Beyond  the  confines  of  com- 
merce pure  and  simple,  however, 
large  prospects  are  opening  up  of 
employing  British  capital  and  skill 
in  what  may  be  more  appropri- 
ately described  as  exploitation. 
China  is  immensely  rich  in  mineral 
property,  which  only  waits  for 
science,  skill,  probity,  and  confi- 
dence to  be  converted  to  the  cur- 
rent uses  of  the  people  and  Gov- 
ernment. Intimately  associated 
therewith  are  manufactories  of 
every  description  to  which  coal, 


iron,  and  other  minerals  are  es- 
sential. Such  enterprises,  and  the 
construction  of  railways,  steam- 
boats, and  the  like,  require  con- 
siderable concentration  of  capital 
and  very  effective  organisation  of 
labour.  It  is  interesting  to  note 
the  place  which  Mr  Bourne  as- 
signs to  the  Chinese  people  in 
connection  with  such  develop- 
ments. There  is  no  question  of 
displacing,  but  of  supplementing. 
In  fact,  a  perfect  co-operation  be- 
tween foreigner  and  native  forms 
the  basis  of  what  is  foreshadowed 
by  this  intelligent  writer. 

"While  native  competition,"  he 
says,  "  must  bear  heavily  on  English- 
men without  capital,  .  .  .  there  are 
no  rivals  among  the  Chinese  to  be 
dreaded  by  rich  firms  and  corpora- 
tions, because  the  Chinese  cannot 
carry  on  large  undertakings,  and 
because  Chinese  riches  are  very  fleet- 
ing." "  While  the  upper  class  seem 
to  lack  the  moral  tone  to  carry  on 
big  enterprises,  .  .  .  millions  of  pa- 
tient reasonable  workers  are  only 
wanting  leaders  to  make  them  pro- 
ducers on  a  large  scale."  "Whatever 
the  future  in  politics  of  China  may 
be,  there  these  workers  must  remain ; 
and  they  are  .  .  .  destined  to  mod- 
ify 'profoundly  the  condition  of  the 
world's  industries." 

"  Under  the  leadership  of  skilled 
European  managers  and  foremen  of 
character  and  temper — firm,  just,  and 
reasonable — the  Chinese  coolie  and 
his  wife  will  make  excellent  textile 
factory  hands."  For  though  "  defici- 
ent in  the  higher  moral  qualities, 
individual  trustworthiness,  public 
spirit,  sense  of  duty,  and  active 
courage  • —  a  group  of  qualities  per- 
haps best  represented  in  our  language 
by  the  word  manliness  —  yet  in  the 
humbler  moral  qualities  of  patience, 
mental  and  physical,  and  perseverance 
in  labour  he  is  unrivalled."  "  And  it 
is  precisely  because  of  these  moral 
shortcomings  that  European  superin- 
tendence is  essential "  to  any  import- 
ant enterprise. 

Chinese  cotton  factories,  per- 
haps, touch  our  immediate  inter- 


1898.] 


Pioneers  of  Commerce. 


143 


ests  more  closely  than  other  forms 
of  enterprise,  because  they  are 
already  in  active  operation,  and 
promise  to  spread  rapidly — espe- 
cially in  the  Yangtze  valley. 
There  is  in  this  an  appearance 
of  direct  competition  with  our 
Lancashire  industry,  which  has 
caused  the  Chinese  mills  to  be 
looked  at  askance,  as  the  Indian 
ones  have  been.  It  is  therefore 
consoling  to  learn  from  those  who 
have  tested  the  results  that  this 
also  is  a  bugbear.  We  shall  no 
doubt  hear  more  on  this  subject 
when  the  technical  report  of  the 
Blackburn  delegates  is  made  pub- 
lic ;  but  in  the  meantime  certain 
general  deductions  of  Mr  Bourne, 
from  data  obtained  on  the  spot, — 
although  somewhat  ingenious,  and 
at  first  sight  paradoxical,  —  seem 
nevertheless  to  follow  logically 
from  the  premisses.  The  visible 
effect  of  this  native  competition 
on  our  own  export  trade  is  a 
tendency  to  lose  ground  in  the 
commoner  cloths ;  but  it  is  claimed 
that 

"we  can  gain  greatly,  if  our  manu- 
facturers and  merchants  choose,  in 
fine  and  figured  cloths.  No  doubt 
the  commoner  shirtings  are  being 
superseded  by  native  cloth  woven  by 
hand  from  imported  yarn  [from 
India]  for  which  there  seems  no 
help."  "  But  I  can  see  no  danger  to 
Lancashire  in  the  cotton  -  spinning 
mills  now  being  erected  in  China. 
Lancashire  cannot  compete  in  coarse 
yarn  with  Japan  and  India,  and  the 
value  created  in  China,  and  not  im- 
ported, will  enable  the  Chinese  to 
buy  more  of  our  finer  goods  —  our 
monopoly  in  the  manufacture  of 
which  is  not,  and  cannot,  under 
present  conditions  of  cotton  supply, 
be  threatened  in  China." 

And  as  it  seems  obvious  that  it 
is  in  the  finer  classes  of  goods  that 
the  workmanship  bears  the  largest 
proportion  to  the  cost  of  the  mate- 
rial, and  that  the  greatest  percent- 


age of  profit  must  accrue  to  the 
English  factories,  it  may  be  no 
disadvantage  to  them  if  low  class 
goods  give  place  to  a  better  class 
in  their  supplies  to  the  China 
market.  If  the  manufacture 
either  of  native  cotton  or  im- 
ported yarn  into  coarse  cloth 
furnishes  the  Chinese  people  with 
the  means  of  purchasing  goods  of 
greater  value  from  England,  the 
contention  seems  sound  that  the 
spread  of  cotton -mills  in  China 
need  not  disturb  the  equanimity 
of  Lancashire  mill-owners  or  opera- 
tives. But  in  order  that  we  may 
enjoy  the  benefits  of  these  new 
developments,  it  is  essential  "  that 
we  have  in  China  an  organisation 
by  which  our  manufacturers  are 
informed  of  what  the  Chinese 
want  to  buy  and  by  which  our 
goods  are  pressed  on  their 
notice." 

On  this  point  the  opinions  of  the 
English  manager  of  the  spinning 
and  weaving  mill  at  Hankow  is 
of  special  value  from  the  vantage- 
ground  he  occupies  for  making 
observations.  "  What  was  wanted 
in  Hankow,"  he  said,  "  to  improve 
the  Lancashire  import  trade  was 
that  the  representativeof  some  good 
house  should  reside  here  and  for- 
ward to  his  firm  samples  or  descrip- 
tions of  goods  suited  to  the  place 
and  people,  and  that  they  at  home 
should  try  to  make  exactly  what 
was  wanted,  although  something 
different  from  our  usual  style, 
make  up,  and  count  or  assortment 
of  colours,  &c."  This  piece  of  advice 
is  worth  quoting  merely  to  remark 
that  it  is  identical  with  what  has 
for  years  past  been  pouring  in 
upon  us  from  every  corner  of  the 
globe ;  and  that  such  elementary 
counsel  should  be  thought  neces- 
sary to  be  addressed  to  the  great- 
est manufacturing  nation  in  the 
world  is  one  of  the  most  ominous 
signs  of  the  times,  as  we  have 


144 


Pioneers  of  Commerce, 


[July 


more  fully  explained  on  a  former 
occasion.1 

Much  of  the  reasoning  which 
Mr  Bourne  applies  to  the  line  of 
commerce  to  which  his  attention 
had  been  specially  directed,  would 
doubtless  apply  also  to  other  species 
of  industry ;  as  for  instance  to  the 
smelting  of  iron,  where  the  util- 
isation of  native  resources  in  the 
coarser  kind  may  create  the  means 
of  purchasing  the  more  finished 
article,  as  tools  and  machinery. 
Within  the  horizon  now  visible,  in 
short,  there  seems  no  reason  to 
expect  injurious  competition  from 
developments  in  China,  provided 
always  that  we  assume  our  proper 
share  in  these  new  enterprises. 
But  success  in  any  or  all  of  these 
promising  ventures,  in  what  we 
may  hope  to  call  the  New  China, 
is  strictly  conditional.  The  con- 
dition is  confidence  in  her  Ma- 
jesty's Government,  and  a  clear 
understanding  between  them  and 
the  merchants  or  adventurers  who 
may  embark  their  capital  and  their 
energy  in  China — an  understand- 
ing that  the  Government  will  in 
future  insist  on  the  observance  of 
treaties,  and  also  press  for  modifi- 
cations when  these  become  obsolete, 
like  the  present  monstrous  regula- 
tions for  the  Yangtze  trade  made 
in  18G1,  without  knowledge  or  ex- 
perience, and  entirely  unsuited  to 
the  circumstances  of  the  trade. 
To  put  it  briefly,  what  is  needed 
is  an  understanding  that  British 
subjects  shall  enjoy  the  same  secur- 
ity and  protection  as  those  of  other 
nationalities,  whether  Russian, 
French,  or  German.  It  is  only  by 
such  means  that  our  position  in 
China  can  be  maintained,  not  to 
say  improved ;  and  with  that  we 
take  leave  of  what  may  be  con- 
sidered a  useful  "tract  for  the 
times." 


P. S.  —  Our  remarks  have  re- 
ceived full  corroboration  from  sev- 
eral public  utterances  which  have 
appeared  since  they  were  written. 
The  deputation  from  the  Associated 
Chambers  of  Commerce  to  Lord 
Salisbury  on  the  14th  June,  and 
the  address  by  Mr  Wenyon  to  the 
London  Chamber  of  Commerce  on 
the  same  day,  put  the  commercial 
case  of  the  country  very  fairly ; 
and  from  the  attention  which  both 
have  received  from  the  Press,  it  is 
evident  that  the  public  begins  to 
feel  an  intelligent  interest  in  the 
trade  of  the  Far  East.  We  are 
pleased  to  gather  from  Mr  Wenyon 
that  an  effort  is  at  last  being  made 
to  grapple  with  the  abuses  of 
transit  exactions  on  British  mer- 
chandise ;  and  Lord  Salisbury  told 
his  deputation  that  "  one  of  the 
most  persistent  occupations  of  our 
most  excellent  and  efficient  repre- 
sentative, Sir  Claude  MacDonald, 
is  insisting  on  the  abandonment  of 
these  exactions,"  which  the  French, 
by  the  way,  abolish  by  a  co^<,p  de 
main,  thus  releasing  their  Minis- 
ter for  more  serious  duties.  We 
do  not  quite  understand,  however, 
why  his  lordship  need  have  quali- 
fied his  satisfactory,  if  somewhat 
belated,  statement  by  suggesting  a 
doubt  as  to  the  legality  of  our 
Minister's  action.  "I  am  not 
quite  satisfied,"  he  observed,  "with 
the  view  of  international  law  which 
I  have  seen  sometimes  expressed, 
that  the  undertaking  that  the 
li  kin  shall  only  be  applied  once 
to  British  goods  necessarily  im- 
plies that  these  goods  shall  be  free 
from  taxation  all  over  China." 
There  is,  in  fact,  no  such  under- 
taking, nor  any  mention  whatever 
of  li  kin,  in  the  treaty  under  which 
our  commerce  is  carried  on.  Lord 
Elgin,  who  negotiated,  or  rather 
dictated,  the  treaty,  since  it  was 


"  German  Peril  "  in  '  Maga '  for  January  1898. 


1898.] 


Pioneers  of  Commerce. 


145 


signed  under  compulsion,  was  pro- 
bably the  best  judge  of  his  own  in- 
tentions, and  this  is  his  version  : — 

"  '  Henceforward,  on  payment  of  a 
sum  in  name  of  transit  duty,  which 
for  simplicity's  sake  has  been  fixed  at 
one-half  of  the  tariff  rate  of  duty, 
goods,  whether  of  export  or  import, 
will  be  free  to  pass  between  the  port 
of  shipment  or  entry,  to  or  from  any 
part  of  China,  without  further  charge 
of  toll,  octroi,  or  tax  of  any  descrip- 
tion whatsoever.'  See  China,  No.  4 
of  1870,  p.  6." 

And  many  years  later  the  highest 
Chinese  authority  on  such  ques- 
tions, the  late  Tseng  Kwo-fan, 
Viceroy  of  Nanking  and  Superin- 
tendent of  Trade  for  the  Southern 
Ports,  placed  on  record  his  view 
of  the  effect  of  the  treaty  provi- 
sion in  language  more  terse  and 
no  less  exhaustive  than  Lord 
Elgin's : — 

"  '  By  carefully  examining  and  com- 
paring the  28th  article  of  the  English 
Treaty  with  the  7th  article  of  the 
Tariff  Eules,  you  will  find  that  after 
foreign  goods  enter  at  the  seaport, 
and  pay  the  regular  duty  and  half- 


duty,  the  merchant  has  only  to  ex- 
hibit his  certificate  of  having  so  paid 
duty  to  be  allowed  to  proceed  to  any 
distance  without  further  demand.' 
See  Lik  in  on  Foreign  Imports,  a 
Memorandum  by  Mr  11.  S.  Gundry, 
printed  by  the  China  Association, 
p.  3." 

Both  these  references  are  given 
in  Mr  Bourne's  report,  and  it 
seems  a  rather  gratuitous  surrender 
of  a  right,  which  the  Chinese 
themselves  have  not  disputed,  and 
which  has  been  affirmed  in  the 
clearest  language  by  so  eminent 
an  authority  as  Tseng  Kwo-fan. 
We  only  trust,  in  the  interest  of 
our  commerce,  that  as  the  citation 
of  the  treaty  provision  was  a  lapse 
of  memory,  so  the  inference  drawn 
from  it  may  yield  to  the  maturer 
judgment  of  Lord  Salisbury  when 
the  actual  text  is  put  before  him. 

Of  the  welcome  promises  of 
assistance  which  the  Premier  gave 
to  the  commercial  deputation  we 
are  pleased  to  take  note,  and  shall 
be  still  more  so  to  report  hereafter 
that  the  promise  has  not  been  an 
empty  one. 


VOL.  CLXIV. — NO.   DCCCCXCIII. 


146 


Mr  Gladstone. 


[July 


ME    GLADSTONE. 


THE  long,  turbulent,  and  strenu- 
ous life  which  terminated  on  the 
19bh  May,  after  spanning  nearly 
the  whole  length  of  the  century, 
is  one  of  the  greatest  marvels  of 
English  political  history.  Oar 
duty  in  this  obituary  notice  will 
be  mainly  to  draw  attention  to 
its  faults,  which  in  our  judgment 
were  numerous  and  flagrant,  and 
ought,  after  all  that  has  been 
said  and  written,  to  be  brought 
into  prominence.  We  are  at  the 
same  time  ready  to  admit  that 
its  splendour  was  in  no  respect 
and  at  no  period  stained  by  any- 
thing mean,  petty,  or  ignoble,  or 
which  fell  below  the  dignity  of  a 
high  -  minded  English  gentleman. 
The  world  has  recently  bent  in 
reverent  homage  beside  a  grave  in 
which  has  been  laid  a  man  whose 
intellectual  power  and  resources 
transcended  all  his  fellows,  and 
even  his  most  distinguished  and 
powerful  opponents ;  whose  ener- 
gies had  been  throughout  his  life 
overwhelming  and  ceaseless ;  and 
whose  legislative  achievements 
were  probably  more  numerous  and 
of  more  extensive  application  and 
results  than  those  of  any  dozen  of 
his  contemporaries.  But  Mr  Glad- 
stone's most  admiring  devotees 
would  scarcely  suggest  that  his 
country  has  the  same  cause  for 
gratitude  in  his  case  as  it  had  in 
the  case  of  Pitt  and  Nelson  at  the 
beginning  of  the  century,  and  of 
Wellington  and  Palmerston  in  the 
middle  of  it.  Those  men,  by  stead- 
fastness and  courage,  had  saved 
their  country.  Mr  Gladstone  has 
not.  His  title  to  influence  and 
fame  mainly  rests  on  this,  that  he 
maintained  throughout  his  career 
a  high  personal  character,  both  as 
regards  the  loftiness  of  his  aims 


and  motives,  and  the  sincerity  of 
his  religious  fervour.  It  served" 
to  win  for  him  the  confidence  of 
an  eminently  serious  and  religious 
people.  It  is  easily  intelligible 
that  he  should  have  aroused  so 
much  genuine  enthusiasm  in  the 
country,  and  even  that  he  should 
have  maintained  its  flame  over 
so  long  a  series  of  years  and 
until  the  very  end.  The  inten- 
sity of  passion  which  he  threw 
into  every  question  excited  a  cor- 
responding passion  of  reverence 
and  regard  for  him  amongst  masses 
of  men  who  had  neither  leisure 
nor  capacity  to  unravel  the  intri- 
cacies of  a  complicated  character 
and  a  checkered  career.  They 
were  wholly  uninfluenced  by  the 
circumstance  that  that  intensity 
of  passion  raged  first  on  one  side 
of  a  question  and  afterwards  on 
the  opposite  side,  occasionally  with 
very  short  intervals  for  reflection. 
Accordingly  a  chorus  of  extrava- 
gant and  indiscriminate  eulogy  has 
resounded  on  all  sides,  from  which 
the  voice  of  soberness  and  truth 
has  been  strangely  absent.  So 
far  as  that  eulogy  has  been  be- 
stowed on  splendid  talents,  cour- 
age, and  a  unique  personality,  we 
do  not  desire,  even  after  an  inter- 
val of  reflection,  to  detract  from 
it.  So  far  as  recent  enthusiasm 
tends  to  create  a  cult  and  to  con- 
ciliate support  to  the  most  recent 
and  most  disastrous  developments 
of  his  policy,  it  may  not  be  in- 
appropriate if,  in  obedience  to  the 
principles  of  the  Magazine  and  in 
deference  to  sobriety  of  judgment, 
we  now  venture  to  appeal  from 
the  crude  exaggerations  of  the 
moment  to  the  voice  of  historic 
conscience. 

It  is  impossible  for  those  who, 


1898.] 


Mr  Gladstone. 


147 


like  ourselves,  have  never  been 
amongst  his  unreflecting  admirers, 
to  handle  this  subject  in  a  spirit 
which  shall  be  appreciative  only 
,of  his  merits.  We  cannot  join  in 
indiscriminate  eulogy.  And  the 
present  is  not  a  fit  opportunity  for 
a  harsh  review.  Moreover,  there 
rises  to  one's  memory  the  generous 
memorial  which  he  constructed  in 
his  rival's  honour  when  he  proposed 
that  a  monument  should  be  erected 
to  Lord  Beaconsfield's  memory  in 
Westminster  Abbey.  After  ex- 
patiating upon  qualities  and 
achievements  with  which  the 
world  is  familiar,  he  referred  to 
some  of  them — 

"  with  regard  to  which  I  should  say, 
were  I  a  younger  man,  I  should  like 
to  stamp  the  recollection  of  them 
upon  my  mind  for  my  own  future 
guidance,  and  with  regard  to  which  I 
will  say  to  those  younger  than  myself 
that  I  would  strongly  recommend 
them  for  notice  and  imitation.  These 
characteristics  were  not  only  written 
in  a  marked  manner  on  his  career, 
but  were  possessed  by  him  in  a 
degree  undoubtedly  extraordinary. 
I  speak,  for  example,  of  his  strength 
of  will  ;  his  long-sighted  persistency 
of  purpose,  reaching  from  his  first 
entrance  on  the  avenue  of  life  to  its 
very  close  ;  his  remarkable  power  of 
self-government  ;  and  last,  not  least, 
his  great  parliamentary  courage, 
which  I,  who  have  been  associated 
in  the  course  of  my  life  with  some 
scores  of  Ministers,  have  never  seen 
surpassed." 

In  point  of  parliamentary  cour- 
age and  in  brilliancy  of  parliament- 
ary achievement  Mr  Gladstone 
may  successfully  challenge  com- 
parison with  his  great  rival.  But 
of  all  the  virtues  enumerated  by 
him,  that  of  long-sighted  persist- 
ency of  purpose  evidently  holds  a 
foremost  place,  and  it  is  by  that 
standard,  one  which  he  himself 
acknowledged  as  eminently  worthy 
of  application  to  a  great  career, 


that  we  think  his  own  must  event- 
ually be  judged.  From  that  point 
of  view  it  is  desirable  to  contrast 
the  beginning  and  the  end  of  his 
sixty  years  of  public  life.  He 
entered  Parliament  as  the  nominee 
of  the  Duke  of  Newcastle,  the 
determining  cause  of  the  nomina- 
tion having  been  a  most  brilliant 
speech  in  the  Oxford  Debating 
Society  against  the  Whig  Reform 
Bill  of  1831,  which  he  denounced 
as  breaking  up  the  foundation  of 
social  order.  He  said  himself  that 
his  prejudices  and  predilections 
were  enlisted  on  the  side  of  Tory- 
ism, meaning  thereby  a  system  of 
repression  and  exclusion  which 
had  grown  up  out  of  the  French 
Revolution,  and  had  been  fostered 
by  the  fears  which  that  portentous 
event  had  inspired.  It  was  an  ex- 
crescence rather  than  a  system,  one 
which  the  real  leaders  of  Toryism, 
the  men  of  clear  convictions  rather 
than  of  prejudices  and  vague  as- 
pirations, were  anxious  to  get  rid 
of.  The  conspicuous  feature  of 
Mr  Gladstone's  early  public  life, 
one  which  can  never  be  laid  out 
of  reckoning  in  appreciating  his 
career  as  a  whole,  is  that  he  con- 
stituted himself  the  "  rising  hope  " 
of  those  who  held  that  Govern- 
ment was  the  birthright  of  the 
few,  that  the  people  had  nothing 
to  do  with  the  laws  but  to  obey 
them,  that  liberty  was  to  be  dreaded 
as  the  inevitable  parent  of  licence, 
that  slavery  itself  was  sanctioned 
by  Holy  Scripture.  There  was 
no  attempt  to  stand  outside  the 
traditions  and  passions  of  either 
party,  and  attain  to  clear  inde- 
pendent convictions  of  his  own 
from  the  standpoint  of  original 
genius,  insight,  and  foresight. 
Men  like  Disraeli,  Cobden,  Bright, 
and  even  Parnell  could  not  merely 
make  the  attempt  but  succeed. 
Gladstone,  on  the  other  hand, 
threw  himself  with  fervour  and 


148 


exulting  earnestness  into  the 
prejudices  and  aspirations  which 
were  ready  to  his  hand.  Having 
done  so,  he  enforced  them  with 
exuberant  fluency  and  with  son- 
orous appeals  to  the  highest  sanc- 
tions. He  did  so  with  a  demeanour 
which,  according  to  Lord  Malmes- 
bury's  diary,  gave  the  impres- 
sion of  a  Roman  Catholic  ecclesi- 
astic, a  man  even  in  early  life  of 
grim  earnestness,  apt  to  consider 
any  departure  from  overpowering 
seriousness  either  in  expression  or 
in  sentiment  as  something  "  devil- 
ish," never  relaxing  the  highly 
strung  tone  of  solemn  responsi- 
bility by  any  indulgence  in  fancy, 
fun,  or  wit.  He  was  thoroughly 
conscientious :  but  his  conscience 
was  of  that  order  that,  according 
to  Archdeacon  Denison,  his  best 
friends  regarded  it  with  forebod- 
ing ;  according  to  another  eccle- 
siastic, it  was  so  tender  it  would 
never  go  straight;  according  to 
a  third,  it  could  be  persuaded  of 
anything ;  according  to  Carlyle, 
it  only  served  to  prevent  con- 
scious charlatanry.  Beginning  a 
public  career  with  this  remarkable 
equipment,  he  was,  in  truth,  both 
above  and  below  the  work  which 
he  had  undertaken.  His  aims 
were  lofty  and  pure ;  the  political 
principles  which  he  had  adopted 
would  not  stand  the  test  of  time. 
The  leader  of  his  party,  Sir  R. 
Peel,  was  so  little  capable  of  giving 
a  creed  to  his  party,  that  the  two 
decisive  events  of  his  career  were 
on  each  occasion  an  unconditional 
surrender  to  a  policy  which  he 
had  devoted  his  life  to  resist. 
Looking  back  upon  this  beginning, 
it  is  easy  to  understand  how  it 
happened  that  Gladstone's  career 
was  remarkable  for  agility  rather 
than  steadfastness,  that  his  un- 
rivalled powers  were  directed  first 
by  one  man  and  then  another, 
that  the  close  of  his  career  bore 


Mr  Gladstone.  [July 

no  resemblance  politically  to   its 
opening. 

Let  us  contrast  the  two.  No 
doubt  there  is  this  similarity.  At 
the  end  there  is  the  same  passion- 
ate appeal  to  the  law  of  nature 
and  of  God,  the  same  unfaltering 
conviction  that  he  is  animated  by 
the  noblest  of  motives,  inspired 
by  the  loftiest  aims,  bent  on  the 
fulfilment  of  purposes  in  the 
highest  degree  beneficial  to  his 
Sovereign,  his  country,  and  his 
race.  But  look  below  the  sur- 
face, and  see  what  is  the  real 
scheme  he  has  on  hand.  It  belies 
every  conviction,  or  prejudice,  or 
prepossession  in  favour  of  social 
order  with  which  he  started  in 
life,  confounds  everything  which 
he  then  held  sacred,  and  means 
surrender  to  the  most  lawless  and 
criminal  faction  which  ever  made 
its  appearance  in  the  annals  of 
our  history.  The  instrument  with 
which  he  endeavoured  to  effect  its 
execution  was  neither  the  Tory 
nor  Conservative  party,  neither 
Whig,  Liberal,  nor  Radical.  Hav- 
ing constituted  himself  for  years 
the  very  impersonation  of  the 
Radical  party — the  party  of  Lib- 
erals in  earnest — he  was  eventually 
left  and  abandoned  by  all  the 
statesmen  it  contained  of  any  light 
and  leading.  He  joined  the  rump 
of  a  faction  to  the  Irish  party, 
whose  principles  and  whose  flagrant 
political  conduct  no  one  had  de- 
nounced in  more  unsparing  terms 
than  himself ;  and  with  that  united 
support  he  endeavoured  to  dis- 
member the  empire,  and  place 
Ireland  under  the  feet  of  men 
who,  in  his  own  words,  had  marched 
through  rapine  and  plunder  and 
cruelty  of  every  description,  but 
who  under  the  new  scheme  were 
to  domineer  in  one  country,  and  to 
possess  a  controlling  voice  in  the 
other.  Astounding  as  the  scheme 
was,  there  was  not  a  doubt  as  to 


1898.]  Mr  Gladstone. 

Mr  Gladstone's  intense  determina- 
tion to  force  it  on  the  acceptance 
of  the  country.  He  devoted  the 
whole  energies  of  the  last  eight 
years  of  his  public  life  to  it.  He 
framed  two  Governments  on  that 
basis.  He  went  to  the  country 
upon  it  in  1886,  and  wanted,  it  is 
said,  to  appeal  to  it  a  second  time 
in  1893  on  the  same  issue.  Foiled 
in  this,  his  last  speech  in  Parlia- 
ment was  a  desperate  appeal  to 
his  party  and  the  country  to  join 
in  destroying  that  power  of  the 
House  of  Lords  which  alone  had 
stood  between  him  and  the  success 
of  his  intolerable  designs.  The 
result  is,  that  instead  of  ruining 
his  country  he  has  simply  ruined 
one  of  the  two  great  parties  in  the 
State.  He  has  deprived  it  of  all 
its  trusted  leaders,  and  saddled 
it  with  a  policy  which  it  is  equally 
impossible  to  get  rid  of  or  to  carry 
into  execution. 

It  is  no  part  of  our  present  pur- 
pose to  denounce  this  scheme  and 
the  attempt  to  force  it  upon  the 
country.  But  surely,  when  we 
contrast  the  beginning  with  the 
end  of  this  career,  all  claim  to  the 
virtue  of  "  long-sighted  persistency 
of  purpose  "  for  ever  disappears. 
Persistency  in  particular  purposes 
from  time  to  time  there  was  un- 
doubtedly; but,  accepting  the  latest 
as  a  sample  of  the  rest,  its  long- 
sighted and  well-considered  char- 
acter may  be  judged  of  by  the 
circumstance  that,  before  he  finally 
adopted  it,  he  appealed  to  the 
country  to  give  him  a  sufficient 
majority  to  save  him  from  tempta- 
tion— declaring  that  it  would  not 
be  safe  to  enter  into  the  considera- 
tion of  any  measure  in  respect  of 
which  the  Irish  party  would  have 
it  in  their  power  to  turn  out  the 
Government.  The  net  result  was 
that  the  two  ends  of  his  career  are 
as  widely  separated  in  point  of 
principle,  of  political  aim,  and  of 


149 


party  association  as  it  is  possible 
to  conceive.  But  both  at  the 
beginning  and  at  the  end,  and  all 
the  way  through,  his  conscious 
loftiness  of  aim  and  integrity  of 
purpose  were  equally  manifest. 
As  he  said  of  the  German  Emperor 
during  the  Franco  -  German  war, 
his  piety  never  failed  him  in  any 
of  these  transactions,  and  in  neither 
case  did  friend  or  foe  ever  ques- 
tion its  sincerity. 

The  explanation  of  this  extra- 
ordinary career  is  very  hard  to 
find.  It  has  perplexed  his  con- 
temporaries, and  will  be  a  problem 
for  the  historian.  That  which 
finds  most  favour  with  his  en- 
thusiastic admirers,  who  are  gen- 
erally those  in  sympathy  with  his 
latest  development,  is  that  he  con- 
sistently brought  religion  and  con- 
science into  his  statemanship,  and 
that  his  progressive  ideas  were  the 
result  of  earnest  and  unswerving 
devotion  to  the  highest  ideals  of 
duty  which  mortal  man  can  form. 
This,  however  simple,  is  not  one 
which  commends  itself  to  the  com- 
mon-sense and  experience  of  un- 
biassed critics.  We  fear  that  one 
explanation  lies  in  the  entire  ab- 
sence from  his  mind,  at  starting 
on  his  career,  of  any  well-thought- 
out  and  mature  conviction.  All 
through  his  political  convictions 
were  in  a  more  or  less  fluid 
condition  :  however  passionately 
adopted,  they  were  never  a  rock 
on  which  his  followers  could  rely. 
The  most  prominent  feature  of  his 
character  is  his  intense  theological 
prepossession,  his  intense  preoccu- 
pation with  all  that  concerns  the 
other  world  rather  than  this.  The 
next  is  his  extraordinary  —  we 
should  say  fatal — facility  of  speech, 
and  rapidity  of  thought.  A  man 
whose  ideas  grow  up  in  fertile 
luxuriance,  and  express  themselves 
at  once  in  a  torrent  of  language 
which  never  stops  either  in  public 


150 


Mr  Gladstone. 


[July 


or  private,  does  not  find  himself 
compelled  to  undergo  the  slower 
processes  of  weighing  opposite  con- 
siderations and  estimating  conse- 
quences. When  the  power  of 
speech  outstrips  the  power  of 
thought,  when  sentiments  and 
opinions  find  a  complete  satisfac- 
tion in  the  ease  and  beauty  with 
which  they  are  expressed,  self-de- 
ception is  the  almost  inevitable 
result.  When  language  can  too 
readily  convey  appeals  to  the 
highest  and  most  elevated  concep- 
tions of  duty,  the  lower  motives 
of  self-interest  may  easily  escape 
the  patient's  observation.  Then 
there  was  his  well-known  incapac- 
ity to  judge  of  individual  men,  as 
compared  with  his  irresistible  in- 
fluence over  masses  of  men  in  the 
aggregate.  The  result  seems  to 
have  been  that  he  was  largely 
dependent  on  others  for  his  final 
decisions  and  convictions,  though 
when  he  had  once  arrived  at  them, 
he  made  them  his  own  by  the 
dogged  determination  with  which 
he  pursued  them  and  ignored  all 
facts  and  considerations  which  told 
the  other  way.  It  is  not  surpris- 
ing that  with  these  qualities,  and 
under  suitable  inspiration,  he  could 
convince  himself  and  most  others 
of  anything  which  he  chose.  And 
it  is  also  easily  intelligible  that 
with  such  qualities  he  should  have 
inspired  such  profound  distrust 
in  the  minds  of  nearly  all  with 
whom  he  was  brought  into  close 
contact.  The  posthumous  memoirs 
of  most  public  men,  from  the  Prince 
Oonsort  downwards,  bear  witness 
to  this  distrust.  The  memoirs 
which  are  freest  from  it  are  those 
of  ecclesiastics,  Roman  and  Angli- 
can ;  and  in  those  the  dominating 
idea  is  that  they  can  so  easily 
bend  him  to  their  purposes.  We 
are  afraid  that  it  is  impossible  to 
overlook  another  element  in  his 
character.  It  is  one  which  was 


fatal  to  that  remarkable  power 
of  self-government  on  which  he 
complimented  Disraeli's  memory. 
It  is  one  which  is  responsible  for 
much — viz.,  an  overweening  per- 
sonal vanity.  It  was  almost  inevi- 
table that  this  should  have  resulted 
from  his  conscious  possession  of 
powers  so  far  in  excess  of  all  whom 
he  encountered.  It  grew  with  his 
growth,  till  at  last  he  could  scarcely 
brook  contradiction,  colleagues  ap- 
parently were  not  consulted  prior 
to  important  decisions,  and  it  is 
said  shrank  from  pointing  out  the 
dangers  and  objections  which 
haunted  their  minds.  There  is 
no  more  disturbing  or  disintegrat- 
ing factor  than  this  in  the  life  of 
public  men  except  corruption  ;  and 
in  his  case  it  was  fostered  and 
exhibited,  till  the  public  were  in- 
vited to  explore  all  those  details 
of  private  life  from  which,  in  the 
case  of  most  of  his  contemporaries, 
they  were  jealously  excluded. 

Let  us  take  first  his  career  from 
his  entrance  into  Parliament  in 
1832  to  his  entrance  into  the 
Cabinet  in  1843.  The  first  thing 
to  notice  is  that  his  own  wish  was 
to  be  a  clergyman ;  his  father's 
wish,  to  which  he  deferred,  was 
that  he  should  embark  in  politics. 
If  he  and  Manning  could  have 
changed  places,  each  would  have 
had  his  wish.  He  was  more  suited 
to  an  ecclesiastical  life ;  Manning 
would  probably  have  made  a  better 
politician.  Nevertheless,  he  had 
quitted  Oxford,  so  says  a  very  ap- 
preciative biographer,  "  with  a  re- 
ligious belief  still  untinctured  with 
Catholic  theology."  His  theo- 
logical development,  as  distinct 
from  his  religious  disposition,  came 
some  years  later,  and  was  due  to 
outside  influence — viz.,  that  of  Mr 
Hope  Scott  and  Archdeacon  Man- 
ning. From  it  he  derived  the  only 
convictions  which,  so  far  as  we  can 
see,  clung  to  him  through  the  whole 


1898.]  Mr  Gladstone. 

of  his  life.  He  took  part  in  the 
Catholic  revival  which  began  in  or 
about  1833,  and  has  continued  to 
the  present  day,  aiming  at  and 
almost  achieving  the  expulsion  of 
the  Protestant  element  from  the 
Church  of  England.  Mr  Glad- 
stone's contribution  to  this  subject 
was  his  book  on  Church  and  State ; 
in  which  he  demonstrated  that  the 
State  had  a  conscience,  that  an 
established  Church  should  be  main- 
tained by  it  as  the  depositary  of 
truth,  and  that,  accordingly,  to 
deprive  Ireland  of  the  English 
Church  there  established  was  to 
deprive  it  of  a  priceless  treasure, 
and  to  offend  against  our  own 
sacred  obligations.  This  book  was 
his  inauguration  of  a  policy.  The 
book  was  dull,  the  policy  fell  flat, 
the  purpose  which  lay  behind  it 
was  neither  persistent  nor  long- 
sighted. Office  brought  with  it 
the  necessity  of  revising  tariffs, 
regulating  railways,  and  mastering 
all  the  details  connected  with  the 
commercial  needs  of  the  country. 
Practically  his  first  official  experi- 
ence had  been  as  Under-Secretary 
for  the  Colonies  under  Lord  Aber- 
deen. But  his  labours  under  the 
Peel  Cabinet  of  1841  led  in  two 
years'  time  to  his  introduction  into 
the  Cabinet  as  President  of  the 
Board  of  Trade,  a  Tory  and  High 
Churchman,  possibly  with  a  ten- 
dency towards  free  trade. 

The  next  phase  is  from  his  at- 
tainment of  Cabinet  rank  in  1843 
to  his  final  adoption  of  the  Liberal 
party  by  accepting,  for  the  second 
time,  the  Chancellorship  of  the 
Exchequer.  That  was  in  1859,  in 
the  Ministry  of  Lord  Palmerston ; 
and  the  intervening  period  is  one 
which  forms  the  most  critical  por- 
tion of  his  life.  He  was  embarked 
upon  a  most  uncertain  sea,  without 
a  rudder  to  steer  by,  in  the  shape 
either  of  a  steady  party  allegiance 
or  of  matured  political  convictions, 


151 


or,  after  the  death  of  Peel,  of  ex- 
perienced guidance.  The  period 
began  with  one  of  the  most  re- 
markable incidents  in  his  personal 
political  history,  although  its  re- 
collection was  soon  obscured  by 
important  political  events.  He 
actually  resigned  his  Cabinet  office 
in  1845,  after  about  one  and  a  half 
year's  tenure  of  it,  because  Peel's 
proposed  grant  to  Maynooth  vio- 
lated the  principles  laid  down  in 
his  book,  and  having  resigned,  im- 
mediately spoke  and  voted  in  its 
favour.  He  wanted  to  be  in  a 
position  to  form  an  unsuspected 
judgment.  He  wanted  to  break 
away  from  the  policy  laid  down  in 
his  book,  as  later  on  he  declared 
himself  unmuzzled  when  his  po- 
litical connection  with  Oxford 
ceased.  The  personal  motive  ob- 
scured all  considerations  which  re- 
garded his  colleagues  and  the 
public.  Such  a  step  filled  the 
mass  of  his  party  with  angry 
amazement,  and  was  possibly  his 
first  occasion  of  inspiring  the  public 
with  distrust  of  his  judgment, 
while  it  convinced  his  friends  of 
his  supernatural  virtue.  He,  how- 
ever, returned  to  the  Cabinet  in  less 
than  a  year  as  Colonial  Secretary, 
the  net  result  of  the  transaction 
being  that  he  was  excluded  from 
the  representation  of  Newark  and 
from  Parliament  during  the  fierce 
session  of  1846,  and  did  not  return 
to  the  House  of  Commons  until 
after  the  dissolution  of  1847,  when 
he  was  elected  for  the  University 
of  Oxford. 

He  then  belonged  to  the  small 
band  of  politicians  who  followed 
Sir  Robert  Peel.  He  was  in  many 
respects,  with  his  splendid  abilities 
and  fascinating  personality,  the 
spoilt  child  of  Oxford,  of  politics, 
and  of  society.  He  had  achieved 
brilliant  success,  but  he  had  never 
had  to  struggle.  His  seat  was 
found  for  him,  his  personal  superi- 


Mr  Gladstone. 


[July 


ority  came  naturally  to  him ;  but 
he  was  wanting  in  those  qualities 
which  are  the  parents  of  sound 
judgment,  or  which  inspire  con- 
fidence in  a  man's  prudence  and 
stability  of  thought.  Though  in 
later  years  he  was  inclined  to  date 
his  accession  to  the  Liberal  party 
from  1846 — i.e.,  the  break  up  of 
the  Peel  Ministry — we  know  from 
the  disclosures  of  Manning's  Life 
that  he  was  at  this  time  in  the 
closest  intimacy  with  the  Anglicans 
who  seceded  to  Rome  at  the  time 
of  the  Gorham  judgment.  His 
churchmanship  and  his  representa- 
tion of  the  University  for  a  series 
of  years  united  with  other  con- 
siderations to  forbid  his  enrolment 
amongst  the  Liberals.  At  Peel's 
death  he  was  regarded  as  distinctly 
a  Conservative.  The  next  year, 
when  the  Lord  Stanley  of  those 
days  was  commissioned  to  form  a 
Government,  he  offered  the  lead 
of  the  House  of  Commons  to  Mr 
Gladstone,  who  declined  it  simply 
on  the  question  of  Protection, 
which  shortly  afterwards  dis- 
appeared from  view.  In  every 
other  respect  he  belonged  to  the 
Conservatives,  repelled,  however, 
by  their  distrust,  and  by  the  posi- 
tion to  which  Disraeli  had  attained 
in  their  ranks.  It  was  not  until 
1852  that  he  first  placed  himself 
in  violent  antagonism  to  it.  Per- 
sonal antipathy  to  Disraeli,  in  his 
new  position  of  Chancellor  of  the 
Exchequer  and  leader  of  the  House, 
was  the  cause  and  the  striking 
characteristic  of  his  new  departure. 
In  the  most  celebrated  parliamen- 
tary duel  of  the  century  the  two 
statesmen  singled  one  another  out 
as  lifelong  rivals,  and  established 
relations  of  vehement  political 
antagonism  which  effectually  ex- 
cluded them  from  the  ranks  of  the 
same  party.  Gladstone's  friends, 
it  seems  clear,  would  gladly  have 
induced  Lord  Derby  to  part  with 


Disraeli  and  take  up  with  Glad- 
stone; but  the  objections  to  that 
course  were  insuperable,  and  it 
was  clear  that  there  was  no  room 
for  both. 

The  Coalition  Ministry  was  pre- 
mature, the  real  object  being  to 
prevent  the  Conservatives  estab- 
lishing themselves  in  office.  Mr 
Cobden  in  later  days  traced  the 
Crimean  War  to  their  accession, 
and  public  opinion  has  long  adopted 
that  view.  It  was  the  most  dis- 
astrous Ministry  since  the  Peace 
of  1815.  Mr  Gladstone's  position 
in  it  was  unique.  His  financial 
triumphs,  whether  showy  or  sub- 
stantial, were  the  source  of  its 
popularity.  He  was  in  the  closest 
political  alliance  with  Lord  Aber- 
deen. But  he  distrusted  Lord 
John  Russell  and  disliked  his  re- 
form policy.  He  had  always  been 
on  terms  of  the  strongest  political 
antagonism  to  Lord  Palmerston. 
The  Ministry  was  so  essentially  a 
coalition  which  did  not  coalesce  that 
Mr  Gladstone  was  never  held  to 
have  joined  the  Liberal  party  by 
becoming  its  Chancellor  of  the 
Exchequer.  When  its  fall  was 
precipitated  by  the  blow  of  Lord 
John  Russell's  resignation,  which 
was  pointedly  aimed  at  the  Peel- 
ites,  it  would  have  been  absurd  to 
say  that  any  new  political  or  per- 
sonal tie  had  resulted  to  Mr  Glad- 
stone. He  quitted  office  as  he  left 
it,  a  member  of  the  Peelite  party, 
and  the  next  four  years  were  con- 
sumed in  endeavours  to  re-establish 
relations  with  the  Conservatives, 
which  abruptly  ended  in  his  join- 
ing Lord  Palmerston's  Government 
in  1859  with  the  reversion  of  the 
Radical  leadership  in  his  pocket, 
in  defiance  of  most  of  the  convic- 
tions and  aspirations  which  he  had 
down  to  that  time  expressed,  driven 
thereto  by  stress  of  circumstances 
which  were  mostly  of  a  personal 
character. 


1898.] 


Mr  Gladstone. 


153 


This  Coalition  had  a  marked 
effect  on  Mr  Gladstone's  position 
and  the  estimate  which  was  formed 
of  him  by  colleagues  and  public 
men  generally.  It  would  be  un- 
fair to  hold  him  responsible  for 
the  drifting  character  of  its  for- 
eign policy.  There  were  men  of 
far  greater  weight  than  himself  in 
regard  to  foreign  affairs  sitting  in 
that  Cabinet.  Their  policies  were 
discordant.  Neither  policy  pre- 
.vailed.  Neither  Russia  nor  Tur- 
key was  restrained.  War  resulted, 
and  it  was  decided  that  France 
and  England  should  bear  the  brunt 
of  it,  regardless  of  Turkish  co- 
operation. No  one  concurred  in 
this  last  decision  more  heartily 
than  Mr  Gladstone.  No  one  ap- 
proved or  expressed  his  approval 
more  heartily  than  he  did  of  the 
particular  course  which  warlike 
operations  took — viz.,  the  expedi- 
tion to  the  Crimea.  On  the  other 
hand,  he  has  never  been  blamed 
for  deserting  Lord  Palmerston's 
Government  directly  he  joined  it. 
It  was  felt  that  he  had  technical 
justification  in  the  grant  of  Mr 
Roebuck's  Committee  of  Inquiry. 
But  a  more  "  robust "  politician 
would  have  felt  that  in  the 
critical  circumstances  in  which  the 
nation  had  been  placed,  and  for 
which  he  was  responsible,  technical 
considerations  should  have  given 
way  to  the  determination  not  to 
desert  his  post.  He  had  embarked 
in  the  war  and  in  the  particular 
expedition  and  siege  from  which, 
as  Lord  Palmerston  insisted,  the 
country  could  not  withdraw  with- 
out receding  in  the  scale  of  nations, 
a  recession  which  spelt  ruin  to  our 
cause  in  India  and  elsewhere.  He 
not  merely  left  the  Ministry  at 
the  time  of  our  greatest  disasters, 
when  the  war  was  becoming  un- 
popular and  its  financial  strain 
severe;  but  he  threw  every  diffi- 
culty in  the  way  of  his  late  col- 


leagues, by  denouncing  his  own 
war  as  immoral,  inhuman,  and 
unchristian.  He  exaggerated  the 
resources  of  the  enemy  and  our 
own  difficulties.  He  made  the 
life  of  the  new  Chancellor  of  the 
Exchequer,  Sir  George  Cornewall 
Lewis,  a  burden  to  him  in  his 
endeavours  to  meet  the  war  ex- 
penditure. He  acted  in  such  a  way 
that  if  others  followed  his  example 
there  would  be  an  end  to  all  con- 
fidence as  between  colleagues  and 
as  between  the  public  and  their 
leaders.  It  is  impossible  to  ex- 
aggerate the  responsibility  for 
this  course  which  Mr  Gladstone 
adopted  in  those  years  which  were 
at  the  very  prime  of  his  life.  To 
launch  his  country  into  war  with 
a  great  Power,  to  call  upon  it  to 
make  sacrifices  and  brace  its  re- 
solution to  the  encounter,  to  as- 
sent to  measures  which  committed 
it  to  a  struggle  of  life  and  death, 
and  then  to  change  his  opinions 
and  call  upon  his  country  to  yield 
to  its  foe,  is  the  ne  phis  ultra  of 
unstatesmanlike  conduct.  The  war 
was  undertaken  to  vindicate  public 
right  and  to  set  bounds  to  the 
ambition  of  Russia.  To  turn 
round  in  the  middle  of  it  and  say 
that  Turkey  was  unchristian,  and 
that  to  side  with  Mohammedans 
against  Christians  was  unjustifi- 
able and  immoral,  was  beyond  the 
moral  competence  of  a  statesman 
responsible  for  the  war.  He  should 
have  thought  of  that  beforehand. 
This  transaction,  however,  does 
not  stand  alone.  It  is  merely 
the  most  conspicuous  instance  in 
his  life  of  that  utterly  unreliable 
and  unaccountable  conduct  which 
never  seemed  to  repel  the  con- 
fidence of  his  admirers  or  even  of 
the  general  public,  however  much 
it  might  confound  the  calcula- 
tions of  friends  and  foes  behind 
the  scenes.  He  approved  the 
war,  it  is  probable,  from  defective 


154 


consideration,  his  religious  aspira- 
tions and  predilections  connected 
with  the  subject  inspiring  him  at 
the  moment  with  no  stronger 
sentiment  than  that  of  reluctance. 
Out  of  office,  that  reluctance  grew 
apace,  and  eventually  transformed 
his  view  of  policy.  He  char- 
acteristically ignored  all  respon- 
sibility arising  out  of  his  pre- 
vious action,  and  refused  to  esti- 
mate the  practical  consequences 
resulting  from  his  new  departure. 
The  ecclesiastically  minded  con- 
science differs  from  the  disciplined 
rectitude  of  responsible  public  men. 
And  whatever  may  be  said  in  miti- 
gation, it  cannot  be  affirmed  that 
he  showed  on  that  occasion  any 
persistency  of  purpose,  whether 
long-sighted  or  short-sighted. 

His  hostility  to  Lord  Palmerston 
at  this  time  was  vehement  and  un- 
ceasing. It  extended  to  the  whole 
course  of  foreign  affairs,  and  burst 
into  almost  fanatical  violence  over 
the  Divorce  Act  of  1857.  It  was 
then  that  he  came  into  collision 
night  after  night  with  the  late 
Lord  Westbury,  who  as  Attorney- 
General  stood  sponsor  for  all  the 
reforms  which  Lord  Palmerston 
could  be  induced  to  sanction. 
Lord  Palmerston  had  a  host  of 
enemies  to  encounter  during  his 
first  Administration,  none  more 
active  and  determined  than  Mr 
Gladstone.  It  was  obvious  that 
his  first  mistake  would,  in  spite  of 
his  great  majority,  be  the  ruin  of 
his  Government.  It  came  with 
the  crisis  produced  by  the  Orsini 
affair  in  Paris.  For  the  first  and 
only  time  in  his  life  Lord  Pal- 
merston showed  the  white  feather, 
or  was  believed  to  have  done  so. 
He  was  swept  from  office,  and 
Lord  Derby  and  Disraeli  reigned 
in  his  stead.  It  was  said  that  the 
Colonial  Secretaryship  was  offered 
to  Mr  Gladstone  at  the  beginning 
of  that  Government,  the  Indian 


Mr  Gladstone.  [July 

Secretaryship  on  the  resignation 
of  Lord  Ellenborough.  In  spite 
of  his  errors  of  judgment,  which 
were  portentous,  both  sides  courted 
his  alliance,  partly  as  a  powerful 
colleague  from  within,  still  more  to 
disarm  a  formidable  opponent  from 
without.  It  is  hard  to  say  to  which 
leader,  Lord  Palmerston  orDisraeli, 
he  was  in  reality  the  more  averse ; 
perhaps  it  was  personally  to  Dis- 
raeli, politically  to  Lord  Palmer- 
ston. But  the  latter  was  twenty 
years  older  than  the  former.  Dis- 
raeli blocked  the  way  to  the  leader- 
ship of  the  Conservatives,  and  these 
had  a  rooted  distrust  of  him.  Pal- 
merston and  Russell  in  the  course 
of  nature  must  speedily  leave  open 
the  way  to  the  Liberal  leader- 
ship. Accordingly  he  never  joined 
the  Derby  Government  in  any 
office  at  home  which  would  have 
implied  political  absorption.  He 
supported  the  Government  on  the 
whole,  and  even  voted  against  Lord 
Hartington's  motion  of  want  of 
confidence,  which  upset  them  after 
the  dissolution  of  1859.  In  spite 
of  everything,  Lord  Palmerston 
offered  him  office.  He  accepted  it 
at  the  age  of  fifty,  and  was  then 
for  the  first  time  enrolled  in  the 
Liberal  party,  of  which  he  very 
soon  became  the  prospective  leader. 
Nothing  has  yet  been  published 
which  serves  to  show  how  the 
steadier  and  more  prudent  mem- 
bers of  that  party  liked  the  pros- 
pect. The  result,  at  least,  has 
shown  how  a  powerful  and  to  all 
appearance  permanently  victorious 
party  may  be  wrecked  by  mis- 
management. 

His  position  in  Lord  Palmer- 
ston's  Cabinet  as  the  heir  to  the 
Premiership  must  have  been  a 
trying  one  to  all  concerned.  No 
sort  of  good-fellowship  arose  be- 
tween the  two  statesmen.  The 
antipathy  was  marked .  The  letters 
of  Lord  Palmerston  to  the  Queen 


1898.]  Mr  Gladstone. 

about  him  are  of  quite  exceptional 
tone.  It  seemed  that  conscious 
mutual  hostility  dispensed  with 
maintaining  even  the  forms  of 
mutual  loyalty.  Mr  Gladstone 
was  markedly  hostile  to  the  forti- 
fication policy,  and  constantly  by 
his  speeches,  notably  by  that  which 
called  for  the  recognition  of  the 
Southern  States  of  America,  drew 
down  upon  himself  the  disapproval 
of  his  chief.  Lord  Palmerston,  on 
the  other  hand,  coldly  supported 
the  French  commercial  treaty, 
effected  the  rejection  of  his  bill 
to  repeal  the  paper  duties,  and 
restrained  his  attempt  to  quarrel 
with  the  House  of  Lords.  He 
even  predicted  the  strange  doings 
of  this  "dangerous  man"  when- 
ever "he  gets  my  place."  Mr 
Gladstone  drew  close  his  relations 
with  Lord  Russell.  Breaking  with 
his  past,  and  in  a  marked  manner 
with  his  reluctance  to  acquiesce 
in  parliamentary  reform  in  1854, 
he  now  threw  himself  with  fervour 
into  his  new  party  and  their  prin- 
ciples, broached  his  famous  theory 
of  "  our  own  flesh  and  blood  "  as 
constituting  a  claim  to  the  suf- 
frage, and  finally  declared  that 
the  Irish  Church  was  the  question 
of  the  future.  This  last  speech 
cost  him  his  seat  for  the  Uni- 
versity. In  vain  he  explained  that 
the  future  was  dim  and  distant, 
and  that  the  question  was  not  yet 
within  the  range  of  practical 
politics.  He  had  plainly  assumed 
the  post  of  Radical  leader  of  the 
Liberal  party,  and  his  seat  was 
plainly  forfeited. 

On  the  death  of  Lord  Palmer- 
ston, Mr  Gladstone  became  leader 
of  the  House  of  Commons.  He 
immediately  formed  closer  rela- 
tions with  Mr  Bright.  The  House, 
however,  had  been  returned  to 
support  a  statesman  of  a  very 
different  character.  The  majority 
broke  away  from  him.  Mr  Disraeli 


155 


took  Reform  out  of  his  hands,  and 
for  ever  associated  his  name  with 
the  settlement  of  that  question, 
the  further  scheme  of  1884  being 
merely  an  extension  of  his  prin- 
ciple. Mr  Gladstone  was  now  at 
the  crisis  of  his  life.  It  was  within 
a  reasonable  calculation  of  chances 
that  his  rival  might  establish  him- 
self in  power.  Disraeli  reached 
the  Premiership  first.  He  was  a 
man  of  enormous  capacity,  and 
had  just  scored  a  brilliant  success 
where  Gladstone  had  as  signally 
failed.  But  Mr  Gladstone  at  this 
crisis  rose  to  the  occasion.  Rely- 
ing on  his  recently  proclaimed 
sympathy  with  advanced  opinions, 
on  his  unrivalled  mastery  over 
detail,  and  matchless  eloquence, 
he  gave  the  signal  for  the  over- 
throw of  the  Irish  Church.  In 
the  result  he  snatched  the  victory 
out  of  the  hands  of  his  rival,  and 
was  returned  to  power  with  a 
majority  of  120. 

This  first  Ministry  (1869-1874) 
was  the  culminating  point  of  Mr 
Gladstone's  fortunes.  In  Ireland 
he  disestablished  a  Church  and 
reformed  land  laws ;  he  carried 
education  measures  for  England, 
he  abolished  purchase  in  the  army, 
he  established  the  ballot.  A  variety 
of  other  measures  completed  a 
total  of  legislative  achievement 
never  before  or  since  equalled  in 
the  same  space  of  time.  It  was  a 
crowded  hour  of  glorious  life,  alike 
to  the  heroes  and  supporters  of 
his  policy.  And  so  long  as  the 
man  is  great,  his  measures  exten- 
sive, and  the  subjects  of  them 
vast  and  wide-reaching,  who  is  to 
gainsay  the  value  of  the  reputa- 
tion acquired  ?  No  one  can  say 
whether  the  course  of  events  would 
have  been  happier  and  more  bene- 
ficial if  the  changes  had  never  been 
effected,  or  would  be  listened  to  if 
he  could.  If  subsequent  disasters 
were  traced  to  them,  the  ready 


15G 


Mr  Gladstone. 


[July 


answer  would  be,  that  not  the 
man  who  proposed  them  but  the 
Parliament  which  adopted  them 
is  responsible.  It  remains  that 
this  vast  legislative  programme 
was  successfully  achieved,  that  it 
involved  a  tremendous  and  un- 
paralleled display  of  intellectual 
resources,  and  that  by  common 
consent  the  only  man  capable  of 
it  that  the  House  of  Commons  in 
the  whole  course  of  its  history  has 
ever  produced  is  the  great  states- 
man whose  life  has  so  recently 
closed.  The  period,  too,  was  not 
disfigured  by  any  appeals  to  class 
hostility,  or  by  any  of  the  bitter- 
ness of  later  years.  Measures  of 
such  wide  -  reaching  consequences 
necessarily  alienated  so  many  in- 
terests, than  even  a  majority  of 
120  was  spent  in  the  effort.  But 
the  flow  of  unpopularity  was  not 
checked  by  any  administrative  or 
foreign  successes.  He  could  not 
govern  Ireland  in  spite  of  all  his 
reforms  and  concessions,  and  coer- 
cion followed  in  their  wake.  His 
surrender  to  Russia  in  the  matter 
of  the  Black  Sea,  to  America  in 
the  matter  of  the  Alabama  in- 
direct claims,  the  want  of  fore- 
sight in  regard  to  the  Franco  - 
German  war,  and  the  needless  way 
in  which  he  irritated  both  belli- 
gerents, all  showed  that  his  fame 
must  rest  on  the  brilliancy  of  his 
legislative  successes,  and  on  little 


The  overthrow  of  that  Govern- 
ment and  the  establishment  of  Mr 
Disraeli  in  power  with  a  majority 
in  both  Houses  was  probably  the 
greatest  political  disappointment 
that  Mr  Gladstone  ever  experi- 
enced. He  had  tried  to  escape 
it  by  offering  to  devote  what  he 
described  as  the  short  remainder 
of  his  public  life  to  the  repeal  of 
the  income-tax.  Failing,  he  sought 
to  retire,  and  in  1875  announced 
his  withdrawal  from  active  poli- 


tics. Some  there  were  who  took 
it  seriously.  Disraeli  was  credited 
with  the  prophecy  that  there 
would  be  a  return  from  Elba. 
There  was ;  and  it  was  followed, 
instead  of  preceded,  by  a  Mos- 
cow expedition  and  capitulation 
to  Parnell.  Had  Mr  Gladstone 
carried  out  his  withdrawal  then, 
or  later  on  given  effect  to  it  after 
he  had  formed  his  Ministry  of 
1880,  and  before  he  got  into  his 
Kilmainham  treaty  and  Egyptian 
imbroglio,  his  best  friends  must 
feel  at  this  moment  that  his  his- 
torical reputation  would  have  stood 
far  higher  than  is  possible  now. 

The  return  to  politics  within  a 
year  of  his  withdrawal  marks  the 
beginning  of  the  fourth  and  last 
phase  of  his  career,  and  is  one  of 
steady  and  continuous  downfall 
from  the  lofty  height  to  which  he 
had  attained.  The  Eastern  Ques- 
tion had  revived,  and  with  it 
Turkish  atrocities.  Russian  ag- 
gression again,  as  in  1853,  was 
the  dominant  feature  of  the  situ- 
ation. To  repel  it,  Mr  Gladstone 
had  in  earlier  years  committed  his 
country  to  a  sanguinary  war, 
which  was  closed  by  all  the  Great 
Powers  recognising  the  independ- 
ence and  integrity  of  the  Turkish 
empire  as  essential  to  the  peace 
of  Europe  and  the  maintenance 
of  public  law.  Mr  Gladstone's 
Government  renewed  that  treaty 
in  1871.  The  English  Govern- 
ment put  its  foot  down  on  those 
treaties  and  insisted  on  their  ob- 
servance, pointing  out  beforehand 
the  particular  acts  on  the  part  of 
Russia  which  would  be  met  by 
open  hostilities.  It  was  a  com- 
plete avoidance  of  all  the  vacilla- 
tion and  uncertainty  of  aim  which 
in  1854  had  launched  us  into  war. 
Mr  Gladstone's  return  to  public 
life  synchronises  with  the  horror 
universally  entertained  at  the 
atrocities  committed  by  the  Turk- 


1898.]  Mr  Gladstone. 

ish  Government  when  face  to 
face  with  internal  disaffection 
concurrently  with  external  ag- 
gression. The  whole  resources  of 
his  matchless  oratorical  power 
were  brought  into  play,  and  at 
the  very  time  when  resolute  re- 
sistance alone  could  prevent  war, 
he  did  his  utmost  to  exasperate 
the  public  mind  against  Lord 
Beaconsfield,  to  encourage  Russia, 
ready  for  the  spring,  and  to  stim- 
ulate disregard  of  treaties  which 
alone  stood  between  Europe  and 
a  general  war.  The  burst  of  in- 
dignation and  wrath  at  cruelties 
which  then,  before,  and  since  have 
shocked  the  world,  was  sublime. 
So  also  was  the  disregard  of  his 
own  treaties  in  the  past,  and  of 
the  appalling  consequences  threat- 
ened by  their  violation  in  the 
future.  He  shook  the  Ministry 
in  their  seats,  and  the  Russo- 
Turkish  war  broke  out,  as  all  fore- 
saw that  it  would,  the  final  encour- 
agement to  it  proving  irresistible. 
As  consequences  unfolded  them- 
selves a  complete  reaction  followed. 
Lord  Beaconsfield's  majority  was 
doubled,  in  spite  of  the  vehemence, 
the  sustained  ferocity,  with  which 
he  was  assailed.  Undaunted  by 
the  extremity  of  the  peril  from 
without,  or  by  the  vehement  op- 
position from  within,  the  British 
Ministry  stood  firm  in  its  resolve 
that  Russia  must  submit  the  re- 
sults of  her  unauthorised  proceed- 
ings to  the  arbitrament  of  a  Euro- 
pean Congress,  and  public  law  was 
vindicated  by  the  Berlin  Treaty. 
On  Mr  Gladstone's  part  it  was  a 
repetition  of  his  proceedings  in 
1853-1856.  In  the  former  period 
he  was  responsible  for  the  war 
which  he  denounced,  but  which 
Lord  Palmerston  strained  every 
nerve  to  carry  to  success.  In  the 
latter  he  was  responsible  for  the 
treaties  which  Lord  Beaconsfield 
strained  every  nerve  to  enforce, 


157 


succeeding  in  his  object  notwith- 
standing his  rival's  efforts  night 
and  day  to  frustrate  it. 

The  Afghan  and  South  African 
wars  which  followed,  failing  seasons, 
and  Mr  Gladstone's  Mid-Lothian 
campaign,  led  to  the  fall  of  Lord 
Beaconsfield's  Ministry.  It  seems 
to  be  a  law  of  the  new  democracy 
that  no  Government  should  hold 
office  for  more  than  six  years.  Mr 
Gladstone  returned  to  power  with 
a  majority  of  more  than  100. 

This  second  Administration  will 
not  compare  with  the  first.  It 
was  a  disastrous  Ministry.  It  be- 
gan in  a  blaze  of  apology.  The 
Prime  Minister  had  gone  so  far  in 
his  denunciations  of  Austria  in 
reference  to  the  Eastern  Question, 
that  he  had  to  begin  his  official 
career  by  a  public  apology  to  its 
Emperor.  He  had  ignored  and 
ridiculed  Lord  Beaconsfield's  warn- 
ings with  regard  to  Ireland,  and 
for  three  years  he  had  Ireland  on 
his  hand  in  a  state  of  veiled — we 
had  almost  said  open  and  general 
— rebellion.  He  gave  up  Candahar 
and  pulled  up  the  rails  of  the 
Quetta  railway,  simply  because 
Lord  Beaconsfield  had  laid  them 
down,  and  towards  the  end  of  his 
Ministry  he  had  to  admit  his  mis- 
take and  lay  them  down  again.  He 
had  wildly  denounced  the  six 
million  vote  of  credit  and  the 
introduction  of  Indian  troops  on 
the  European  scene  by  his  prede- 
cessor. At  the  close  of  his  new 
Government  he  had  to  ask  for 
eleven  millions  to  enable  him  to  re- 
sist Russia,  and  he  was  glad  of  the 
assistance  of  Indian  troops  in  his 
Egyptian  campaigns.  Again  and 
again  his  inconsiderate  speeches 

during:  his  celebrated  Mid-Lothian 

•  * 

campaign  were  a  source  ot  mis- 
chief. He  had  denounced  the 
measure  by  which  the  Transvaal 
became  British  territory.  He  in- 
cited the  Boers  to  rise  against  us. 


158 


Mr  Gladstone. 


[July 


Naturally  they  took  him  at  his 
word.  In  vain  he  declared  that 
he  would  make  no  terms  with  them 
till  the  Queen's  authority  in  South 
Africa  was  re-established.  They 
beat  him  thrice,  the  last  time  at 
Majuba  Hill.  He  then  gave  way 
and  made  peace,  although  that 
course  involved  what  Mr  JForster 
called  the  shameful  desertion  of 
our  allies.  The  same  policy  was 
adopted  in  Egypt  and  the  Sou- 
dan. When  Arabi  revolted, 
the  general  opinion  was  that 
his  rebellion  would  have  been  at 
once  suppressed  if  the  Sultan  had 
interposed  his  authority.  But  Mr 
Gladstone  was  debarred  from  in- 
voking any  assistance  from  that 
quarter  by  the  unmeasured  invec- 
tives of  a  slightly  earlier  date. 
He  was  shut  out  from  all  influence 
in  Constantinople,  and  diiliculties 
were  thickening  in  Egypt.  He 
bombarded  the  forts  of  Alexandria, 
which  led  to  the  burning  and  sack 
of  the  city.  Not  long  afterwards 
Hicks  Pasha  and  his  army  were 
destroyed  by  the  Mahdi.  General 
Gordon  was  sent  into  the  Soudan 
to  withdraw  the  Egyptian  gar- 
risons and  the  inhabitants  who 
might  wish  to  leave.  Gordon  ar- 
rived at  Khartoum,  garrison  after 
garrison  in  the  Soudan  was  mas- 
sacred, and  Gordon  was  deserted 
and  slain.  The  only  excuse  ever 
given  was  that  Gordon  might  have 
fled,  deserting  those  who  had 
trusted  him,  acting  on  the  faith 
of  his  protection.  Both  in  Egypt 
and  South  Africa  the  same  con- 
duct was  pursued.  Enmity  was 
wantonly  provoked,  hostilities  were 
carelessly  pursued,  too  late  marked 
every  effort,  and  surrender  was 
made  without  a  pang. 

The  Irish  were  dealt  with  in 
precisely  similar  manner.  Their 
enmity  was  aroused  by  the  Coer- 
cion Act,  and  influenced  by  violent 
speeches,  such,  for  instance,  as  the 


famous  one  at  Leeds,  where  they 
were  denounced  for  marching 
through  rapine  and  plunder  to  the 
dismemberment  of  the  empire. 
More  than  a  thousand  were  flung 
into  jail  without  a  trial.  Then 
came  the  inevitable  surrender. 
The  Lord  Lieutenant  (Lord  Cow- 
per)  and  the  Chief  Secretary  (Mr 
Forster)  were  thrown  overboard, 
and  a  treaty  made  at  Kilmainham 
with  Mr  Parnell  and  his  allies,  by 
which  their  freedom  was  secured  at 
the  price  of  putting  down  by  their 
personal  influence  outrages  which 
the  Government  with  all  the  re- 
sources of  civilisation  at  its  back 
was  powerless  to  quell.  It  will  be 
the  marvel  of  posterity  how  a 
Government  could  face  a  disclos- 
ure of  that  kind  and  not  be  over- 
whelmed. But  Mr  Gladstone's  per- 
sonal superiority  to  all  his  rivals 
after  the  disappearance  of  Lord 
Beaconsfield,  the  unaccountable 
personal  loyalty  of  colleagues  who 
afterwards  as  Liberal  Unionists 
proved  their  invincible  fidelity  to 
the  public  interests,  and  his  large 
majority,  practically  rendered  him 
irresponsible,  or  at  all  events 
absolute.  There  have  been  two 
instances  in  our  day  of  party 
chieftains  declining  in  efficiency 
when  they  lose  the  steadying  in- 
fluence of  an  antagonist  whom 
they  respect.  Lord  John  Russell 
went  steadily  down  the  hill  after 
Sir  Robert  Peel's  death ;  and  Mr 
Gladstone  declined  even  more  con- 
spicuously, both  in  his  statesman- 
ship and  his  authority,  after  the 
death  of  Lord  Beaconsfield. 

The  legislation  of  this  Ministry 
was  again  chiefly  Irish.  Besides 
coercion  bills,  there  was  another 
Land  Act  in  1881.  The  remark- 
able feature  of  that  measure,  as 
it  respects  Mr  Gladstone,  was 
that  it  carried  into  effect  certain 
suggestions  which  in  1870  he  had 
denounced  with  his  inflated  and 


1898.]  Mr  Gladstone. 

unmeaning  rhetoric  as  "  carrying 
widespread  demoralisation  through- 
out the  whole  mass  of  the  Irish 
people."  These  were  fixity  of  ten- 
ure on  the  part  of  the  occupier, 
and  State  power  to  reduce  exces- 
sive rents.  The  former  was  con- 
fiscation of  the  landlord's  title,  the 
latter  would  release  people  from 
contracts  which  they  had  deliber- 
ately made.  Yet  in  1881  he 
established  a  Land  Court  for  that 
very  purpose  by  an  Act  which 
established  fixity  of  tenure,  fair 
rents,  and  free  sale — all  of  which 
he  had  demonstrated  in  1870  to 
be  economically  unsound  and  polit- 
ically dangerous.  The  general 
effect  of  his  land  legislation  in 
Ireland  may  have  been  beneficial 
to  those  who  could  organise  crim- 
inal agitation  and  baffle  the  au- 
thority of  Government.  No  one 
can  contend  that  it  was  in  ac- 
cordance with  the  plainest  rules 
of  honesty  and  commercial  moral- 
ity. Purchasers  of  one-eighth  of 
the  whole  soil  of  Ireland,  who 
had  paid  subsequently  to  1849  no 
less  than  52  millions  of  money  for 
land  at  the  invitation  of  Govern- 
ment, and  had  obtained  a  parlia- 
mentary title,  found  a  great  part 
of  their  purchases  confiscated,  and 
their  holdings  altered  to  those  of 
rent-chargers  instead  of  proprie- 
tors. History,  in  the  person  of 
Mr  Lecky,  has  already  described 
the  course  adopted  as  "distinctly 
dishonest,"  as  a  direct  violation  of 
contract,  as  beyond  the  competence 
of  Congress  under  the  constitution 
of  the  United  States,  without  a 
parallel  in  the  legislation  of  Euro- 
pean countries.  Continental  writ- 
ers described  it  as  an  attack  on 
the  principles  of  property  more 
radical  than  any  measure  of  the 
French  Revolution,  or  even  of  the 
Reign  of  Terror.  It  was  confisca- 
tion of  the  property  of  loyal  men 
at  the  bidding  of  the  organisers  of 


159 


an  agrarian  agitation.  All  claim 
to  compensation  was  scouted. 
Some  argued  that  in  the  long-run 
the  landlords  would  be  benefited, 
or  at  least  that  they  would  incur 
no  loss.  Others  declared  that  such 
considerations  must  be  excluded 
in  the  presence  of  extreme  public 
necessity  arising  from  extreme  pub- 
lic peril.  Either  evasion  suited 
Mr  Gladstone ;  but  neither  of  them 
impeded  the  upward  flight  of  his 
oratory,  which,  regardless  of  the 
subject  in  hand,  appealed  in  the 
noblest  language  to  the  loftiest 
motives.  We  give  this  as  a  sam- 
ple of  the  sort  of  oratory  which 
carried  all  before  him  with  audi- 
tors who  were  untouched  in  purse 
or  prospects,  and  because  it  has 
passed  into  the  region  of  history 
under  selection  by  Mr  Lecky  : — 

"Justice,  sir,"  he  exclaimed,  "is 
to  be  our  guide  ;  and  as  it  has  been 
said  that  love  is  stronger  than  death, 
even  so  justice  is  stronger  than  popu- 
lar excitement,  stronger  than  the 
passions  of  the  moment,  stronger 
even  than  the  grudges,  the  resent- 
ments, and  the  sad  traditions  of  the 
past.  Walking  in  that  light,  we  can- 
not err.  Guided  by  that  light,  the 
divine  light,  we  are  safe." 

No  doubt  Mr  Gladstone  had  with 
emotional  fervour  worked  himself 
up  to  the  pitch  of  sincerely  believ- 
ing in  every  word  of  this  emotional 
utterance,  so  bitterly  repulsive  to 
the  unfortunate  victims  of  his 
legislation.  Others  whose  withers 
were  unwrung  might  luxuriate  in 
the  same  sentiments  of  serene  self- 
complacency.  Probably,  as  Mr 
Lecky  remarks,  no  one  who  was 
present  when,  "  with  uplifted  eyes 
and  saintly  aspect  and  exquisitely 
modulated  intonation,  the  great 
speaker  poured  out  these  sonorous 
sentences,"  dreamed  that  in  a  few 
short  years  he  would  identify  him- 
self with  the  men  of  rapine  and 
public  plunder,  and  march  hand 


160 


Mr  Gladstone. 


[July 


in  hand  with  them  to  the  dismem- 
berment of  the  empire. 

At  the  close  of  this  Ministry 
Mr  Gladstone  occupied  a  distinctly 
lower  level  of  authority  and  re- 
putation than  would  have  been 
accorded  to  him  if  his  career  had 
practically  closed  with  the  first. 
He  was  overwhelmed  with  failure 
in  all  directions,  both  at  home  and 
abroad.  His  defiance  of  the  Sul- 
tan had  brought  disaster  in  Egypt, 
his  encouragement  of  Russia  led 
him  to  the  brink  of  war  with 
that  country,  which  possibly  was 
averted  only  by  his  resignation 
and  the  accession  of  Lord  Salis- 
bury. The  Irish  party  sprang  to 
their  seats  when  the  numbers  of 
the  destroying  division  were  an- 
nounced, and  shouted  their  execra- 
tion of  the  fallen  Ministry.  His 
followers  at  the  general  election, 
which  soon  followed,  impugned  his 
authority  in  the  way  most  ex- 
asperating to  a  party  chief,  by 
substituting  an  unauthorised  pro- 
gramme in  lieu  of  his  own.  It 
reduced  him  to  the  position  of 
appealing  to  Lord  Hartington's 
sanction  of  his  own ;  it  enabled 
his  recalcitrant  followers  to  de- 
clare that  his  programme  had  lost 
the  boroughs,  while  their  pro- 
gramme had  won  the  counties. 
His  authority  was  tottering  to  its 
fall,  ruined  by  a  long  course  of 
failure,  recklessness  in.  speech  and 
action,  the  decay  of  his  mighty 
genius. 

The  result  of  the  general  elec- 
tion was  to  render  Mr  Parnell 
master  of  the  situation.  He  could 
make  and  unmake  Ministries,  and 
he  had  powerfully  contributed  to 
the  destruction  of  the  Liberal 
majority  by  directing  the  Irish 
vote  both  in  England  and  Ireland 
against  the  followers  of  Mr  Glad- 
stone. Accordingly  the  inevit- 
able surrender  was  close  at  hand. 
In  December  1885  the  momentous 
decision  was  taken  which  involved 


the  ruin  of  his  reputation  on  the 
one  hand,  the  subjection  of  Ire- 
land to  the  Parnellite  faction  on 
the  other,  together  with  the  per- 
manent disunion  of  Great  Britain 
and  Ireland. 

There  can  be  no  doubt  that 
this  decision  was  taken  in  the  ex- 
ulting plenitude  of  that  one-man 
power  which  was  founded  on  his 
extraordinary  gifts,  and  became 
dearer  to  Mr  Gladstone's  heart  as 
years  increased,  and  which  he  ex- 
travagantly overestimated,  having 
regard  to  his  recent  failures.  The 
Whig  party  had  fallen  from  him 
one  by  one,  the  Radicals  were  dis- 
loyal and  ambitious  to  supersede 
him.  A  personal  alliance  with 
Parnell,  concluded  without  con- 
sultation with  any  of  his  colleagues, 
was  effected.  It  at  least  enabled 
him  to  dictate  a  new  policy  to  his 
party,  and  dare  them  to  reject  it. 
He  had  possession  of  the  caucuses. 
He  calculated  that  the  whole  party 
would  recognise  his  new  position 
as  one  of  impregnable  strength,  and 
come  to  heel  accordingly.  Many 
of  them,  including  Lord  Granville 
and  Sir  W.  Harcourt,  did  so — not- 
withstanding the  latter's  Coercion 
Act  and  oratorical  allusions  to 
Parnellite  juice,  cancerous  sore, 
war  with  the  boycotting  pike.  He 
himself  had  not  denounced  Home 
Rule  for  fifteen  years ;  while  the 
rhetoric  of  subordinates  is  as  easily 
swallowed  as  uttered.  It  was  cal- 
culated, in  a  statement  communi- 
cated with  more  or  less  authority 
to  the  newspapers,  that  the  new 
policy  would  have  a  large  majority 
in  the  House  of  Commons ;  that 
the  House  of  Lords  would  not 
reject  it;  that  if  they  did,  the 
country  would  give  Mr  Gladstone 
an  unmistakable  mandate  to  carry 
it  into  law. 

A  more  critical  position  this 
country  has  not  been  placed  in 
since  the  winter  of  our  Crimean 
disasters.  It  was  impossible  to 


1898.] 


Mr  Gladstone. 


161 


exaggerate  the  tremendous  acces- 
sion of  strength  which  Mr  Glad- 
stone in  his  single  person  brought 
to  the  policy  of  Home  Rule. 
Those  who  knew  his  character 
knew  that  the  whole  force  of  his 
intellect,  the  whole  strength  of 
his  religious  convictions,  the  ut- 
most ardour  of  his  oratorical 
fervour,  would  be  thrown  into  the 
new  scheme ;  and  that  every  con- 
sideration founded  on  the  character 
and  action  of  his  new  allies,  or  of 
political  morality  generally,  would 
under  the  plea  of  earnestness  be 
flung  to  the  winds  if  it  impeded 
his  scheme.  Before  he  adopted  it 
he  probably  persuaded  himself  that 
Parnell  and  his  followers  after  the 
Kilmainham  treaty  were  in  reality 
something  totally  different  from 
his  former  experience  of  them, — 
that  the  treaty  of  Kilmainham  had 
changed  their  natures  and  purified 
their  characters.  He  was  mis- 
taken. As  time  went  on  he  was 
drawn  into  direct  or  indirect  ap- 
proval of  the  very  deeds  which 
had  originally  provoked  his  con- 
demnation and  coercion;  the  whole 
Decalogue  could  be  violated  with 
impunity,  until  at  last  an  isolated 
offence  against  social  purity,  of 
no  political  significance  whatever, 
roused  the  Nonconformist  con- 
science, and  in  its  result  shattered 
the  confederacy  on  whose  support 
he  rested  all  his  hopes  for  the 
future.  Meanwhile  a  second  and 
profound  mistake  was  disclosed. 
Nearly  all  the  statesmen  of  ability, 
character,  and  experience,  who 
formed  thestrengthof  his  surround- 
ings, declined  to  follow  him  in  his 
change  of  front.  That  at  least 
ensured  the  rejection  of  his  scheme 
by  the  House  of  Lords.  A  third 
mistake  most  probably  was  his 
acceptance  of  ParnelFs  account 
of  his  celebrated  interview  with 
Lord  Carnarvon.  Mr  Gladstone 
lived  to  regard  Parnell  as,  in  his 
VOL.  CLXIV. —  NO.  DCCCCXCIII. 


own  words,  a  "  consummate  liar." 
There  was  a  fourth  mistake.  The 
new  democracy  had  a  will  of 
its  own.  All  the  great  Liberal 
leaders  who  had  urged  its  establish- 
ment had  always  intended  that  it 
should  be  informed  and  guided  by 
platform  deliberations,  and  that 
its  decisions  should  be  given  in  the 
light  of  day.  Here  was  an  osten- 
tatious attempt  by  an  old  parlia- 
mentary hand  to  force  its  decision 
on  an  unknown  subject  with  the 
aid  of  parliamentary  alliances  and 
manoeuvres. 

To  the  eternal  credit  of  the  new 
democracy,  it  determined  to  look 
before  it  leaped.  The  more  timid 
members  of  the  Liberal  party  in 
the  House  of  Commons — not  one 
in  ten,  or,  as  Parnell  said  later, 
not  one  in  three,  of  them  really 
approving  —  prepared  themselves 
to  run,  and  did  run,  like  Gadarene 
swine,  down  the  steep  hill  which, 
but  for  a  catastrophe  at  the  polls, 
would  have  led  to  destruction.  The 
spirit  of  fatalism,  that  spirit  which 
believes  that  a  great  revolutionary 
change  once  proposed  by  authority 
must  come,  took  possession  of  a 
large  portion  of  the  rank  and  file 
of  Liberalism,  not  merely  in  the 
House  but  in  the  constituencies. 
It  was  the  spirit  so  tersely  ex- 
pressed by  Lord  Melbourne  to  his 
followers  on  the  subject  of  free 
trade  in  corn.  "It  was  a  d — d 
thing,"  he  said  to  them,  "  that  Peel 
has  made  this  proposal ;  but  he 
has  made  it,  and  whether  you  like 
it  or  not,  you  will  all  of  you  have 
to  vote  for  it."  One  advantage 
which  we  have  all  derived  from 
eight  critical  and  anxious  years 
is  that  the  spirit  of  fatalism  is 
exorcised  from  our  politics.  It 
does  not  follow  under  the  new 
democracy — experience  has  proved 
it — that  immediately  a  wild  pro- 
posal is  made,  that  instant  the 
flowing  tide  rolls  in  its  favour. 


162 


Mr  Gladstone. 


[July 


The  onus  probandi  is  changed. 
Thoso  who  make  wide -reaching 
proposals  of  change  must  vindicate 
them.  The  labouring  oar  hence- 
forth is  not  exclusively  with  the 
party  of  resistance.  The  two  men 
to  whom  we  chiefly  owe  the  salu- 
tary defeat  of  Home  Rule  were 
the  late  Mr  Bright  and  the 
statesman  whom  we  are  all  glad 
to  see  enrolled  in  a  Conservative 
Ministry  as  the  reward  of  his 
patriotic  exertions,  Mr  Chamber- 
lain. We  do  not  undervalue  the 
services  of  the  Whig  party  headed 
by  Lord  Hartington.  But  these 
would  probably  not  have  sufficed 
without  the  powerful  aid  of 
Mr  Bright  and  Mr  Chamberlain. 
There  is  no  necessity  to  go  into 
the  details  of  the  Home  Rule 
bills  or  their  parliamentary  vicis- 
situdes. The  broad  features  of 
Mr  Gladstone's  management  were 
the  attempted  purchase  of  the  Irish 
landlords'  neutrality  by  the  terms 
offered  in  the  Land  Purchase  Bill, 
described  as  usual  as  a  solemn 
national  "  obligation  of  honour  and 
of  policy,"  and  then  abandoned  in 
deference  to  his  followers'  objec- 
tions under  the  plea  of  the  land- 
lord's rejection  of  them,  when 
they  were  never  given  the  oppor- 
tunity of  accepting  them.  Then 
there  was  the  coercion  implied  by 
raising  the  question  of  the  masses 
against  the  classes,  under  the  im- 
pression that  the  former  were  on 
his  side.  Then  there  was  the 
abandonment  of  the  Irish  Con- 
stabulary,—  a  force  which  had 
loyally  stood  by  the  unrivalled 
coercionist  in  his  policy  of  re- 
pression, but  which  was  now  to 
be  handed  over  to  the  tender 
mercies  of  Mr  Parnell  and  his 
followers.  All  executive  and 
judicial  authority,  Ulster  and  the 
Protestants  generally,  were  to  be 
placed  under  the  control  of  the 
party  of  disorder,  which  was  at 
the  time  loudly  declaring  that 


those  arrangements  were  not  final, 
but  were  merely  an  instalment  of 
concessions  whicli  pointed  to  a 
complete  separation.  When  the 
dissolution  came,  the  new  de- 
mocracy sent  up  a  majority  of 
110  against  the  reckless  and 
dangerous  scheme  submitted  to 
it ;  and  a  Conservative  Govern- 
ment was  installed  in  power  for 
six  years.  A  great  national  dis- 
ruption had  been  averted,  but 
Mr  Gladstone's  career  and  fame 
were  overwhelmed  by  an  irre- 
trievable disaster.  Withdrawal 
from  politics  and  from  the  for- 
tunes of  a  party  which  he  had 
conducted  to  ruin  was  impossible. 
The  matchless  hero,  who  had  so 
often  led  his  followers  to  victory, 
must  devote  the  declining  years 
of  a  laborious  life  in  pursuit  of  an 
unattainable  policy,  in  conjunction 
with  impossible  allies,  in  leading 
a  discredited  and  defeated  party, 
in  a  position  which  excluded  him 
from  all  control  over  practical 
politics. 

One  consideration  which  we  have 
never  seen  seriously  discussed  is 
whether  Mr  Gladstone  when  he 
joined  Parnell  had  any  alternative 
course  open  to  him  except  with- 
drawal from  public  life.  His 
failures  both  at  home  and  abroad 
had  seriously  impaired  his  autho- 
rity. By  his  own  act  later  on 
he  betrayed  his  consciousness  of 
foreign  failure  by  substituting 
Lord  Rosebery  for  Lord  Granville 
at  the  Foreign  Office.  One  by 
one  his  Whig  colleagues  had  fallen 
away,  and  there  can  be  little  doubt 
that  those  who  remained  had  had 
enough  of  Kilmainham  treaties, 
surrender  to  enemies,  alternative 
spoliation  and  coercion  in  Ireland. 
His  Radical  followers,  seeing  the 
disorganisation  of  the  party,  were 
pressing  their  own  schemes  in  un- 
authorised programmes,  one  item 
of  which  was  the  disestablishment 
of  the  English  Church,  which  he 


1898.]  Mr  Gladstone. 

knew  to  be  impracticable.  A  dis- 
credited leader,  distrustful  fol- 
lowers, divided  aims,  the  hostility 
of  the  faction  which  held  the 
majority  in  its  hand,  were  a  com- 
bination which  rendered  office  im- 
possible. An  alliance  with  the  Irish 
faction  re-established  his  autho- 
rity, relegated  the  past  to  oblivion, 
concentred  all  minds  upon  the 
future,  would  carry  all  before  him, 
except  in  the  improbable  contin- 
gency of  a  third  political  party 
arising  and  wresting  the  control 
of  the  situation  from  the  hands  of 
the  Parnellites.  In  the  prime  of 
his  life  he  had  belonged  to  a  third 
party  himself,  which,  in  spite  of 
character  and  talent,  had  failed  to 
maintain  a  separate  existence,  and 
had  gradually  disappeared.  He 
disregarded  that  contingency,  and 
he  knew  that  his  own  position 
without  the  new  alliance  was  un- 
tenable, and  recoiled  from  the 
prospect  of  his  career  being  closed 
in  disaster  and  humiliation.  His 
resolutions  on  the  Irish  Church  in 
1868  had  borne  him  on  the  wave 
of  success  ;  his  Home  Rule  policy 
should  bring  the  same  result  in 
1886,  quelling  a  mutiny  amongst 
his  followers,  consigning  the  imme- 
diate past  to  oblivion,  pronouncing 
a  sentence  of  divorce  between 
Great  Britain  and  Ireland  in  a 
way  which  should  undo  the  work 
of  Pitt,  and  usher  in  a  true  union 
of  hearts. 

His  sense  of  the  failure  of  this 
scheme  had  come  before  the  dis- 
solution. When  he  went  to  the 
country,  he  gave  up  his  Irish 
bills  and  fell  back  on  Irish 
management  by  herself  of  the 
affairs  specifically  and  exclusively 
her  own, — that  principle  which  is 
so  harmless  in  words,  but  in  prac- 
tice may  mean  anything  up  to 
complete  and  even  hostile  separa- 
tion. He  gave  up  his  bills,  de- 
claring them  dead  beyond  recall, 
and  for  the  next  six  years  wild 


163 


horses  could  not  draw  from  him 
the  secret  of  his  policy.  In  fact 
there  was  no  secret  to  divulge. 
The  next  scheme  of  Home  Rule 
would,  in  the  first  place,  entirely 
depend  on  the  composition  of  the 
majority  returned  to  carry  it 
into  effect;  and  in  the  second, 
would  be  merely  another  attempt 
to  solve  an  insoluble  problem. 
Any  details  which  might  be  for- 
mulated on  such  a  subject  would 
necessarily  involve  large  principles 
and  bitter  controversy.  A  pre- 
mature disclosure  would  infallibly 
ruin  all  chance  of  a  majority. 
Meanwhile  Ireland  must  be  shown 
to  be  ungovernable,  and  also  to 
block  the  way.  Irish  disorder 
and  House  of  Commons  obstruc- 
tion would  be  powerful  arguments 
in  favour  of  the  desired  conclusion. 
He  refused  to  discountenance  Mr 
Dillon's  aggressive  operations  in 
Ireland,  to  pronounce  as  to  the 
morality  of  the  Plan  of  Campaign. 
He  fiercely  opposed  Mr  Balfour's 
Crimes  Bill.  He  steadily  identi- 
fied himself  with  the  Parnellites, 
became  more  and  more  acrimoni- 
ous against  the  Liberal  Unionists, 
who  had  not  joined  Lord  Salis- 
bury's Government  but  who  stead- 
ily supported  it.  It  is  his  conduct 
in  this  six  years'  opposition  which 
must  determine  the  verdict  of  his- 
tory as  to  the  spirit  in  which  he 
began  and  pursued  his  Home  Rule 
policy.  There  were  the  speeches 
at  the  National  Liberal  Con- 
ference at  Nottingham  in  1887, 
in  which  he  enforced  all  Parnel- 
lite  charges  against  the  admin- 
istration of  law  and  order  in 
Ireland,  and  made  liberal  offers  to 
those  who  wanted  further  parlia- 
mentary reform  and  disestablish- 
ment, provided  they  would  give 
him  a  Home  Rule  majority.  Men 
were  reminded  of  the  bribe  by 
abolishing  the  income-tax  in  1874, 
when  sect  after  sect  was  told  that 
the  only  way  of  effecting  its  wishes 


164 


Mr  Gladstone. 


[July 


was  to  support  the  prophet  of 
Home  Rule.  Mr  Gladstone  was 
bent  on  success,  his  whole  political 
reputation  was  staked  on  it,  and 
he  utterly  ignored  responsibility 
for  anything  which  he  said  or  did, 
even  if  acts  and  words  encouraged 
anarchy  and  forcible  resistance 
to  law.  The  most  irresponsible 
demagogue  could  not  have  acted 
in  a  more  unrestrained  manner  or 
disregarded  consequences  more  flag- 
rantly than  the  statesman  who  had 
already  been  three  times  Prime 
Minister,  and  whose  personality, 
owing  largely  to  language  held  in 
Nonconformist  pulpits,  was  super- 
stitiously  worshipped  by  large 
masses  of  the  people.  In  1889  he 
appeared  on  a  platform  with  Par- 
nell.  He  boldly  declared  that  the 
charges  against  the  Parnellites, 
which  were  under  the  investiga- 
tion of  the  Special  Commission, 
were  fictions.  When  the  Pigott 
letters  were  withdrawn  he  stood 
up  with  his  party  to  give  Parnell 
an  ovation  in  the  House.  He 
refused  to  pay  any  attention  to 
the  adverse  findings  in  the  report. 
He  entertained  Mr  Parnell  at 
Hawarden,  discussed  with  him  the 
details  of  a  Home  Rule  scheme 
which  he  refused  to  disclose  to 
others.  At  an  age  when  he  ought 
to  have  been  the  Nestor  of  politics, 
to  have  succeeded  to  the  place  above 
all  party  which  was  held  by  the 
Duke  of  Wellington  and  the  Mar- 
quis of  Lansdowne  in  former 
generations,  be  had  sunk  to  the 
lowest  level  of  politics,  scarcely 
distinguishable  from  the  ordinary 
demagogue  in  the  facility  with 
which  he  could  adopt  programmes 
like  those  of  Nottingham  and 
Newcastle,  in  the  incentives  which 
he  could  offer  to  disorder  and 
violence. 

There  is  no  saying  whether  or 
not  these  tactics  would  have 
eventually  given  him  a  decisive 
majority.  It  was  quite  possible 


they  would,  for  his  personal  auth- 
ority and  fascination  were  some- 
thing quite  unprecedented  in  our 
political  history.  In  an  evil 
moment  Parnell  appeared  in  the 
Divorce  Court  under  circumstances 
of  peculiar  meanness  and  treachery. 
His  followers  unanimously  white- 
washed him  in  Dublin ;  Mr  Glad- 
stone was  silent  in  London. 
Common -sense  suggested  that  if 
murder,  boycotting,  torture,  and 
organised  oppression  were  venial 
offences,  a  mere  personal  violation 
of  social  purity  need  not  be  ad- 
vanced to  the  dignity  of  a  national 
event.  Suddenly  the  whole  scene 
changed.  The  distant  rumble  of 
the  Nonconformist  conscience  be- 
gan to  strike  on  the  ear ;  it 
swelled  into  a  mighty  roar,  and 
the  Parnellite  -  Gladstonite  alli- 
ance —  that  ill  -  omened  union  of 
a  man  of  virtue  and  a  man  of 
crime  —  was  dissolved  in  inex- 
tinguishable laughter.  Mr  Glad- 
stone said  its  continuance  would 
reduce  his  political  influence  "al- 
most to  a  nullity."  Parnell  rounded 
on  his  ally  as  the  unrivalled  coer- 
cionist  of  Ireland,  who  was  con- 
stitutionally incapable  of  giving  a 
straight  answer  to  a  straight  ques- 
tion, and  declared  that  his  Home 
Rule  policy  as  disclosed  at  Hawar- 
den was  no  fulfilment  of  the  Irish 
claims.  The  result  was  that  the 
Irish  party  split  into  irreconcil- 
able factions,  and  Mr  Gladstone 
found  that  he  had  flung  away  the 
pride  and  strength  of  his  follow- 
ing in  reliance  on  a  broken  reed. 

The  historian  will  probably  re- 
gard the  break  up  of  that  ill- 
omened  alliance  as  the  destruc- 
tion of  whatever  hopes  might  at 
one  time  have  been  entertained 
of  the  policy.  The  Parnellites 
became  bitterly  hostile  to  their 
former  ally,  and  the  hostility  did 
not  cease  with  Parnell's  death  in 
1891.  The  Anti-Parnellites  were 
satisfied  with  vague  assurances,  and 


1898.] 


Mr  Gladstone. 


165 


accepted  a  position  which  their 
Irish  enemies  could  represent  as 
subordinated  to  the  interests  of  an 
English  party.  Their  American 
supporters  fell  away  from  a  divided 
party.  Amongst  English  Home 
Eulers  not  one  in  three,  as  Parnell 
complained,  believed  in  it,  least  of 
all  the  nominal  leaders  of  the  move- 
ment. Mr  Gladstone,  in  the  in- 
creasing desperation  of  his  position, 
swallowed  the  whole  of  Mr  Schnad- 
horst's  multifarious  programme  at 
Newcastle,  and  omitted  no  expedi- 
ent which  could  serve  the  vote- 
catching  purposes  in  hand.  How- 
ever much  his  rhetorical  power 
was  on  the  wane,  he  could  still 
appeal  in  impassioned  terms  to  the 
British  Nonconformists  to  dis- 
regard the  outcries  of  the  Irish 
Protestants.  He  could  still  de- 
nounce the  Ulster  Convention 
as  a  constructive  conspiracy  to 
defy  the  law ;  and  if  the  immin- 
ence of  civil  war  in  Ireland  was 
pointed  out  as  the  result  of  his 
policy,  a  man  to  whom  retreat  was 
impossible  could  easily  deride  a 
contingency  which  he  had  no 
option  but  to  face. 

All,  however,  was  over  before 
the  dissolution  of  1892.  No  sane 
politician,  looking  back  on  that 
time,  can  bring  himself  to  believe 
that  success  was  ever  possible. 
The  almost  unanimous  judgment 
of  the  intellect  and  the  conscience 
of  the  nation  was  opposed  to  it. 
The  results  of  the  general  election 
showed  conclusively  that  there 
was  no  mandate  in  its  favour.  Mr 
Gladstone  himself  was  returned  by 
a  signally  reduced  majority.  Eng- 
land was  decisively  opposed  to 
him.  Scotland  and  Ireland,  to- 
gether with  gallant  little  Wales, 
could  only  give  him  a  majority  of 
42.  He  was  absolutely  dependent 
on  the  Irish  vote,  part  of  which 
was  irreconcilably  hostile,  the  re- 
mainder of  which  was  not  to  be 
relied  upon.  The  secret  was  religi- 


ously kept  of  the  details  of  his 
scheme  until  in  1893 — that  extra- 
ordinary session,  which  was  Mr 
Gladstone's  last,  and  which  con- 
tinued from  January  31  of  that 
year  till  March  5  of  the  next — the 
second  Home  Rule  Bill  was  intro- 
duced to  a  crowded  house  by  a 
statesman  in  his  eighty  -  fourth 
year.  Disastrous  as  the  scheme 
was,  no  one  could  fail  to  appreciate 
the  pathos  of  a  political  and  per- 
sonal position  which  had  been  so 
prominent  and  so  splendid,  but 
the  exigencies  of  which  imposed  a 
task  so  manifestly  in  excess  of 
failing  powers.  His  colleagues 
were  unequal  to  the  occasion. 
The  financial  part  of  the  scheme 
broke  down ;  the  retention  of  the 
Irish  members,  so  necessary  from 
an  imperial  point  of  view,  so  ob- 
jectionable as  giving  to  them  a 
right  of  interference  where  on  the 
principle  of  the  bill  they  were 
foreigners,  was  an  insoluble  pro- 
blem. The  bill  bristled  with  diffi- 
culties. The  majorities  in  favour 
of  the  Government  dwindled  down 
to  14.  Every  one  could  see  the 
game  was  up.  In  spite  of  radical 
changes  in  the  bill  having  been 
effected,  Mr  Gladstone  closured 
debate  in  compartments,  and  soon 
afterwards  the  House  of  Lords 
threw  it  out  by  the  magnificent 
majority  of  419  against  41.  It 
seemed  to  Mr  Gladstone's  col- 
leagues— possibly  even  to  himself 
—  a  wholly  impracticable  task  to 
go  to  the  country  on  such  a  scheme; 
and  so  the  last  link  was  snapped 
which  bound  him  to  public  life. 
He  resigned  that  high  dignity 
which  he  had  held  four  times,  and 
closed  for  ever  what  he  called  in  an 
address  to  his  constituents  "  the 
merits  or  demerits  of  a  career  cer- 
tainly chargeable  with  many  errors 
of  judgment,  but  I  hope  on  the 
whole  governed  at  least  by  upright- 
ness of  intention  and  by  a  desire 
to  learn." 


166 


Mr  Gladstone. 


[July  1898. 


Adversely  as  we  criticise  Mr 
Gladstone's  political  career,  we 
join  in  no  grudging  spirit  in  the 
honours  paid  to  him  at  its  close 
universally,  aud  by  all  sorts  and 
conditions  of  men.  For  in  spite 
of  his  errors  and  gigantic  mistakes 
there  was  a  grandeur  about  the 
man  both  of  character  and  intel- 
lect, there  was  something  in  his 
general  tone  and  aims,  which  com- 
mands respect  as  well  as  admiration 
even  when  we  trace  the  ruin  of  his 
fortunes  to  his  own  headstrong  and 
insensate  error.  He  was  never  lost 
in  the  Irish  party.  However  inex- 
plicably he  might  mix  himself  up 
with  the  heroes  of  the  Parnell 
Commission,  speak  their  language, 
and  approve  their  acts,  history  will 
draw  a  just  distinction,  and  refuse 
to  identify  him  with  his  latest 
associates.  It  is  only  the  indis- 
criminate adulation  of  the  moment 
which  includes  every  portion  of 
his  long  and  inconsistent  life  in 
one  sweep  of  general  eulogy.  En- 
thusiastic as  we  islanders  are,  we 
have  yet  a  streak  of  common-sense, 
which  will  forbid  the  rise  of  a 
school  of  Gladstonians,  and  pre- 
vent the  Irish  policy  interred  in 
his  grave  from  once  more  emerging 
into  prominence.  Reflection  will 
convince  the  most  enthusiastic  ad- 
mirer that  if  Mr  Gladstone's  career 
was  Napoleonic  in  its  dazzling 
achievements,  it  was  also  Napol- 
eonic in  its  portentous  failures. 
In  fact  the  latter  predominate. 
His  party  will  not,  even  in  its 
present  forlorn  situation,  endeav- 
our to  conjure  with  his  name ; 
and  if  his  authority  is  appealed 
to  on  any  question,  the  rival 
claims  of  conflicting  utterances 
must  be  adjusted  before  it  pos- 
sesses any  weight.  He  has  not 
left  behind  him  a  school,  a  policy, 


or  a  creed  ;  his  name  is  not  asso- 
ciated with  any  political  success 
abroad,  or  with  the  triumph  of 
any  institution  or  cause  at  home 
which  he  can  claim  to  have  ori- 
ginated. Isolated  measures  he 
has  passed  in  abundance,  and  he 
availed  himself  of  numerous  oppor- 
tunities as  they  arose  to  devote  his 
splendid  talents  to  accomplish  the 
purpose  of  the  moment.  But  his 
enduring  fame  in  the  future,  as 
his  power  in  the  past,  will  be 
founded  on  himself  personally,  on 
what  he  was  in  himself  rather  than 
on  what  he  actually  did,  notwith- 
standing his  incessant  activity. 
In  saying  so,  we  need  not  join  in 
those  pharisaic  tributes  to  phari- 
saic  virtue  which  abounded  a  short 
time  ago.  The  same  phenomenon 
occurred  on  the  death  of  Lord 
Selborne.  We  remember  that 
on  that  occasion  Lord  Rosebery, 
"justified,"  as  it  seemed  to  us, 
"rather  than  the  others,"  begged 
leave,  "in  deep  humility,  and  at 
a  respectful  distance,"  to  concur 
in  remarks  the  fulsomeness  of 
which  might  have  been  avoided 
with  advantage.  The  parable  of 
the  publican  will  not,  we  hope,  be 
entirely  erased  from  the  memories 
of  our  ecclesiastical  devotees.  Mr 
Gladstone's  was  a  many-sided  char- 
acter, without  the  insight  into  men 
and  things  and  the  foresight  which 
make  a  trustworthy  leader  and 
statesman ;  with  a  reputation  for 
stainless  integrity  and  deep  relig- 
ious faith,  upright  and  generous  in 
his  aims  and  sympathies.  The  best- 
intentioned  men  are  not  always 
the  greatest  benefactors  of  their 
kind  or  the  wisest  of  rulers,  and 
the  friend  may  have  been  right 
who  declared  that  he  would  have 
been  a  better  statesman  if  he  had 
not  been  so  good  a  man. 


Printed  by  William  Blackwood  and  Sons. 


BLACKWOOD'S 
EDINBURGH     MAGAZINE, 


No.  DCCCCXOIV.  AUGUST  1898. 


VOL.  CLX1V. 


SOME    UNPUBLISHED    LETTERS    OF    ROBERT    SOUTHEY. 


"  I  HOPE,"  writes  Thackeray  of 
Robert  Southey — "  I  hope  his  life 
will  not  be  forgotten,  for  it  is 
sublime  in  its  simplicity,  its  en- 
ergy, its  honour,  its  affections. 
Southey's  private  letters  are  worth 
piles  of  epics." 

There  is  in  the  possession  of  the 
writer  of  these  pages  a  small  col- 
lection of  hitherto  unpublished 
letters  of  great  interest.  They 
are  written  by  Southey  to  his 
friend  John  May,  who  may  be 
introduced  to  the  reader  as  the 
one  to  whom  Southey  dedicated 
his  short  and  incomplete  autobio- 
graphy. They  became  acquainted 
at  Lisbon,  when  the  poet  was 
a  very  young  man,  and  their 
friendship  proved  to  be  of  lifelong 
duration.  We  find  Southey  in 
1818  expressing  his  satisfaction  at 
becoming  possessed  for  the  first 
time  in  his  life  of  the  sum  of 
£300,  which  he  proposes  to  invest 
in  the  Three  Per  Cents.  "  I  have 

VOL.  CLXIV. — NO.  DCCCCXCIV. 


already  a  hundred  pounds  there," 
he  writes  triumphantly.  "  I  shall 
be  worth  £12  a-year  !  "  By  1821, 
as  the  result  of  unwearied  exer- 
tions, he  has  increased  the  amount 
to  £625.  Then  comes  bad  news 
of  May,  business  troubles,  and  the 
total  loss  of  all  his  fortune. 
Without  hesitation  the  whole  of 
Southey's  fund  —  the  savings  of 
half  a  lifetime  —  is  transferred 
from  his  name  to  that  of  May, 
whom  he  cordially  invites  to 
break  away  from  business  worries 
and  come  to  Keswick,  where  he 
was  living  with  his  wife  and 
family. 

The  first  letter,  however,  dates 
long  before  this  time.  It  is  writ- 
ten in  1799,  when  the  poet's 
friendship  with  May  was  only 
four  years  old  : — 

"  It  is  long  since  I  have  heard  from 
you.  I  saw  the  marriage  of,  I  sup- 
pose, one  of  your  sisters  announced 
in  the  papers ;  at  the  time  I  wished 


168 


Some  Unpublished  Letters  of  Robert  Soutkey. 


[Aug. 


it  had  been  your  own,  but  if  the 
single  man  be  never  quite  happy, 
neither  can  he  be  ever  quite  other- 
wise. In  sickness,  in  poverty,  in 
death,  the  evil  extends  not  beyond 
himself  ;  he  is  prepared  for  all  the 
contingencies  of  life,  and  its  close  is 
not  embittered  by  the  grief  of  the 
survivors,  whose  happiness  or  welfare 
depends  upon  him.  It  has  always 
been  my  wish  to  die  far  away  from 
my  friends— to  crawl  like  a  dog  into 
some  corner,  and  expire  unseen.  I 
would  neither  give  nor  receive  un- 
availing pain. 

"  Of  the  few  books  with  me  I  am 
most  engaged  with  the  Koran.  It  is 
dull,  and  full  of  repetitions,  but  there 
is  an  interesting  simplicity  in  the 
tenets  it  inculcates, 

"What  was  Mohammed?  Self- 
deceived,  or  knowingly  a  deceiver  ? 
If  an  enthusiast,  the  question  again 
occurs,  wherein  does  real  inspiration 
differ  from  mistaken  ]  This  is  a 
question  that  puzzles  me,  because  to 
the  individual  they  are  the  same,  and 
both  effects  equally  proceed  from  the 
first  impeller  of  all  motives,  who 
must  have  ordained  whatever  he 
permits.  In  this  train  of  reasoning 
I  suspect  a  fallacy  but  cannot  dis- 
cover it.  But  of  Mohammed — there 
is  one  fact  which  in  my  judgment 
stamps  the  impostor — he  made  too 
free  with  the  wife  of  Zeid,  and  very 
speedily  had  a  verse  of  the  K.  re- 
vealed to  allow  him  to  marry  her. 
The  vice  may  be  attributed  to  his 
country  and  constitution,  but  the  dis- 
pensation was  the  work  of  a  scoundrel 
imposing  upon  fools. 

"  The  huge  monstrous  fable  of 
Mohammedanism,  his  extravagant 
miracles,  and  the  rabbinical  tenets  of 
his  followers  appear  nowhere  in  the 
written  book.  Admit  the  inspiration 
of  the  writer,  and  there  is  nothing  to 
shock  belief.  There  is  but  one  God 
— this  is  the  foundation  :  Mohammed 
is  his  prophet— this  is  the  superstruc- 
ture. His  followers  must  have  been 
miserably  credulous.  They  gained  a 
victory  over  the  Koreish  with  very 
inferior  numbers,  and  fought  lustily 
for  it.  Yet  Mohammed  says,  and 
appeals  to  them  for  the  truth  of  what 
he  says,  that  not  they  beat  the 
Koreish,  but  3000  angels  won  the 


victory  for  them.  The  system  has 
been  miserably  perverted  and  fatally 
successful.  Bagdad  and  Cordova  had 
their  period  of  munificence  and  litera- 
ture, all-  else  in  the  history  of  this 
religion  is  brutal  ignorance  and  fero- 
city. It  is  but  a  system  of  degrada- 
tion and  depopulation,  whose  over- 
throw is  to  be  desired  as  one  great 
step  to  general  amelioration.  If  you 
could  get  me  Anquitel  du  Perron's 
'  Zenda  vesta '  I  should  be  very  glad  ; 
it  is  not  easily  met  with,  but  per- 
haps your  bookseller  might  meet 
with  a  copy." 

The  romantic  and  unusual  cir- 
cumstances of  his  marriage  may 
not  be  fresh  in  the  mind  of  the 
reader,  and  may  be  briefly  touched 
upon 

His  attachment  at  the  very  early 
age  of  twenty  to  Edith  Fricker,  a 
sister  of  Coleridge's  wife,  a  young 
and  penniless  girl,  was  naturally 
viewed  with  some  misgiving  by 
the  family  circle,  though  there  is 
reason  to  believe  that  his  mother 
sympathised  with  and  believed  in 
its  strength  and  stability.  His 
uncle,  Mr  Hill,  of  whom  Southey 
always  speaks  in  terms  of  affection 
and  respect,  was  especially  con- 
cerned at  what  he  considered  to 
be  Robert's  "entanglement,"  and 
after  many  attempts  to  separate 
him  from  his  fiance'e,  made  a  pro- 
posal that  Robert  should  accom- 
pany him  to  Lisbon,  where  he 
intended  making  a  lengthy  stay. 
The  real  motive  of  this  arrange- 
ment was  not  avowed,  but  to  the 
young  lover  it  was  obvious  that 
it  was  another  endeavour,  kindly 
meant  but  utterly  mistaken,  to 
wean  him  from  the  object  of 
his  attachment.  He  could  not 
refuse  to  go,  but  feeling  him- 
self bound  to  his  young  be- 
trothed by  the  ties  of  honour  as 
well  as  of  affection,  he  arranged  a 
hasty  and  secret  marriage  on  the 
very  day  of  his  departure  from 
England,  taking  leave  of  his  bride 


1898.] 


Some  Unpublished  Letters  of  Robert  Southey. 


169 


at  the  church  door  with  a  heavy 
heart,  and  hastening  to  Falmouth 
to  join  his  uncle,  preparatory  to 
leaving  England. 

"  Never,"  he  writes  to  his  friend 
Grosvenor  Bedford  —  "  never  did 
a  man  stand  at  the  altar  with  such 
strange  feelings  as  I  did  :  she 
returned  the  pressure  of  my  hand, 
and  we  parted  in  silence."  The 
little  bride,  her  wedding  ring 
hung  in  a  ribbon  round  her  neck, 
returned  to  her  home. 

Such  a  marriage  was  un- 
doubtedly an  experiment  full  of 
risk,  but  its  results  go  far  to  justify 
the  wisdom  of  his  choice,  and  his 
insight  and  judgment,  even  at  the 
early  age  of  twenty-one.  It  does 
not  appear  that  any  permanent 
effort  at  concealment  was  planned 
by  the  youthful  couple,  for  a  very 
few  weeks  afterwards  we  find 
Robert  openly  alluding  to  his 
marriage  in  his  letters  to  several 
friends, — always  disclaiming  any 
other  motive  for  the  abruptness  of 
the  affair  than  the  one  given  above. 

The  next  letter,  written  a  month 
after  the  preceding  one,  shows  us 
the  poet  in  a  more  normal  and 
cheerful  state  of  mind. 

"  There  'are  three  classes  of  people 
in  whose  society  I  find  pleasure — • 
those  in  whom  I  meet  with  similarity 
of  opinion  ;  those  who,  from  a  simi- 
larity of  feeling,  tolerate  differences 
of  opinion  ;  and  those  to  whom  long 
acquaintance  has  attached  me,  who 
neither  think  nor  feel  with  me,  but 
who  have  the  same  recollections,  and 
can  talk  of  other  times  and  other 
scenes.  Accustomed  to  seclusion,  or 
to  the  company  of  those  who  know 
me,  and  to  whom  I  can  let  out  every 
thought  as  it  rises,  without  the 
danger  of  being  judged  by  a  soli- 
tary expression,  I  am  uncomfortable 
amongst  strangers.  A  man  loses 
many  privileges  when  he  is  known 
to  the  world.  Go  where  I  will, 
my  name  has  gone  before  me,  and 
strangers  either  receive  me  with  ex- 


pectations that  I  cannot  gratify,  or 
with  evil  prepossessions  that  I  cannot 
remove.  It  is  only  in  a  stage-coach 
that  I  am  on  an  equal  footing  with 
my  companions,  and  it  is  there  that 
I  talk  the  most,  and  leave  them  in 
the  best  humour  with  me. 

"  George  Coleridge  has  been  very 
friendly  towards  me,  and  I  feel  that 
his  opinion  of  me  has  been  influenced 
by  you.  He  has  his  brother's  fore- 
head, but  no  other  resemblance.  It 
is  wonderful  how  the  strong  feelings 
induced  by  composition  change  the 
countenance.  Strong  thought  is 
labour,  an  exercise  essential  to  the 
mind's  health ;  and  the  face  of  a 
thinking  man,  like  the  legs  of  a 
porter,  or  the  arms  of  a  blacksmith, 
indicate  how  he  has  been  employed. 

"  Something  I  shall  one  day  build 
on  the  base  of  Zoroaster,  but  what  I 
know  not.  I  feel  myself  pledged  to 
Mango  Capac,  and  if  I  can  see  the 
propriety  of  blending  aught  super- 
natural with  philosophical  narration, 
he  shall  be  brought  from  Persia.  My 
head  is  full  of  plans  ;  it  seems  as 
though  all  that  I  have  yet  done  is  the 
mere  apprenticeship  of  poetry — the 
rude  work  which  has  taught  me  only 
how  to  manage  my  tools. 

"  Since  the  beginning  of  this  letter, 
I  bore  part  in  an  interesting  con- 
versation with  George  Coleridge — it 
was  upon  the  tendency  of  Christ- 
ianity. His  brother  Edward,  who 
seldom  talks  much  to  the  purpose, 
talked  only  to  confuse  and  misunder- 
stand, but  afterwards,  when  we 
walked  out,  he  understood  us  better. 
We  were  talking  upon  the  equali- 
tarian  doctrine  of  the  Gospel,  —  a 
doctrine  which  you  know  I  see  there, 
and  which  is  intimately  blended  with 
all  my  opinions  and  systems,  their 
foundation  indeed,  their  life  and 
soul. 

"  I  could  soon  grow  unreserved 
with  him,  and  talk  from  immediate 
impulse.  We  are  all  a  good  deal 
amused  by  the  old  lady.  She  could 
not  hear  what  was  going  on,  but 
seeing  Samuel  arguing  with  his 
brothers,  took  it  for  granted  that  he 
must  have  been  wrong,  and  cried  out, 
'  Ah  !  if  your  poor  father  had  been 
alive  he  would  soon  have  convinced 
you  ! ' " 


170 


Some  Unpublished  Letters  of  Robert  Southey. 


[Aug. 


In  the  letter  which  follows,  the 
clear  business-like  arrangement  of 
his  affairs  in  the  event  of  unfore- 
seen contingencies  cannot  but  strike 
us,  accustomed  as  we  are  to  the 
easy  go-as-you-please  system,  the 
indulgence  in  which  we  must  re- 
cognise as  the  characteristic  of 
the  poetic  temperament.  But  it 
must  be  remembered  that  Robert 
Southey  was  not  exclusively  a 
poet.  He  himself  tells  us  of  a 
"calmer  and  steadier  pleasure 
than  poetical  composition,"  allud- 
ing to  his  passion  for  historical 
research — for  fact,  as  opposed  to 
fable.  It  was  his  delight  in 
actualities,  as  well  as  in  the  world 
of  fancy,  that  bestowed  on  us  his 
voluminous  and  valuable  contribu- 
tions to  the  history  and  biography 
of  the  world — contributions  which 
are  apt  to  be  overlooked  in  the 
popular  estimate  of  Southey,  who 
is  regarded  for  the  most  part  in 
the  light  of  a  poet-laureate  alone, 
while  the  more  solid  part  of  his 
life's  work  is  ignored. 

Failure  of  health,  and  a  deter- 
mination to  try  the  effect  of  change 
of  climate  for  himself  and  wife, 
take  him  once  more  to  Lisbon. 
He  writes  : — 

"  First  as  to  pecuniary  matters.  Re- 
viewing of  course  must  be  suspended, 
and  I  have  for  some  months  ceased 
writing  for  the  newspapers  owing  to 
inability  from  ill-health.  The  loss  is 
not  less  than  £100  a-year  ;  but  an  old 
schoolfellow,  a  clergyman,  by  name 
Elmsley,  understanding  from  Wynn 
that  I  was  going  abroad,  immediately 
offered  me  through  him  a  hundred 
pounds,  a  sum  which  will  repay  the 
expenses  of  the  journey,  the  voyage, 
and  the  personal  expenses  necessary 
to  clothe  us  for  a  twelvemonth's 
absence.  This  done,  my  annual  in- 
come remains  £160,  which  you  will 
receive  quarterly,  and  to  which 
amount  I  will  draw  upon  you.  There 
will  be  also  from  ten  to  twenty  pounds 
due  from  the  '  Critical  Review,'  which 
I  shall  direct  to  be  paid  to  you. 


"  I  shall  send  over  my  '  Thalaba ' 
for  publication.  This  will  assuredly 
— though  I  reserve  the  copyright  of 
the  after  -  editions  —  produce  £100. 
Some  one  of .  my  friends  who  is  con- 
nected with  the  booksellers  will  trans- 
act the  business  for  me,  and  the 
money  shall  be  deposited  in  your 
hands  :  this  is  my  fund  for  our  re- 
turn. 

"  If  peace  permits  I  will  return 
over  the  Pyrenees,  and  in  that  case 
the  journey  will  pay  its  own  expenses. 
My  destined  employment  in  Portugal 
you  are  acquainted  with.  In  order 
to  keep  up  my  connection  with  the 
'  Critical  Review,'  I  have  engaged  to 
review  Portuguese  books,  and  Spanish, 
if  I  can  get  them.  There  will  be  so 
little  to  do  that  it  cannot  be  esti- 
mated at  more  than  ten  pounds' 
worth,  but  it  continues  my  connec- 
tion. 

"The  '  Annual  Anthology '  remains 
charged  for  some  articles  which  I 
wish  to  have  sent  to  my  uncle  in  the 
autumn,  and  for  ten  pounds  towards 
the  maintenance  of  my  cousin  Mar- 
garet. 

"  My  brother  Harry  .  .  .  this  is  the 
most  awkward  circumstance.  I  had 
been  looking  on  to  a  house  in  London 
where  he  could  have  had  a  home 
when  he  left  Mr  Maurice.  Harry 
was  16  in  January  last.  I  know  not 
how  he  can  be  better,  or  indeed 
otherwise  placed  than  where  he  is. 

"  My  mother  will  remain  with  her 
sister.  I  wished  her  to  have  passed 
the  summer  at  Burton,  where  she 
might  easily  have  found  some  ac- 
quaintance to  have  accompanied  her, 
and  shared  her  housekeeping  ex- 
penses. She  is  never  happy  with  her 
sister,  a  miserable  woman  with  whom 
no  one  could  be  happy.  Nothing 
unpleasant  but  this  recollection  will 
accompany  me. 

"  My  worldly  affairs  in  case  of 
death  are  easily  arranged.  A  copy 
of  'Madoc'  is  in  the  possession 
of  my  friend  Charles  Danvers. 
Incorrect  as  it  now  is,  should  I  be 
summoned  to  another  state  of  exist- 
ence, its  value  will  be  considerably 
more  than  you  imagine.  Coleridge 
would  edit  this,  or  whatever  else 
I  may  leave  worth  editing  :  the  pro- 
duce you  would  dispose  of  as  might 
best  serve  Edith — and  my  mother ; 


1898.] 


Some  Unpublished  Letters  of  Robert  Southey. 


171 


but  if  my  mother  will  not  live  with 
Edith,  the  little  annuity  that  may  be 
^aised  must  not  be  lessened  by  the 
smallest  part  going  into  the  College 
Green. 

"My  two  younger  brothers  have 
uncommon  talents.  I  trust  I  shall 
live  to  bring  them  forward  so  as  to 
see  them  hold  honourable  and  useful 
stations  in  society  ;  if  it  be  ordered 
otherwise,  the  name  they  bear  will 
continue  or  procure  them  friends, 
and  their  abilities  remain  a  better 
inheritance  than  wealth. 

"April  2,  1800." 

The  letter  next  given,  written 
from  Lisbon,  has  its  full  share  of 
interest : — 

"  The  summer  has  arrived,  and  we 
have  had  some  days  more  oppressively 
hot  than  I  had  ever  before  experi- 
enced, accompanied  with  the  hot 
wind,  a  sort  of  bastard  siroc  which 
you  must  remember,  and  which  it  is 
much  more  agreeable  to  remember 
than  to  feel.  The  disappointment  of 
having  a  burning  face  fanned  by  a 
wind  that  heats  it  has  been  useful  to 
me.  I  had  described  desert  sufferings, 
and  can  now  retouch  and  heighten 
the  picture.  To-day  we  have  had 
the  fine  fresh  breeze  which  in  the 
West  Indies  they  call  'the  Doctor,' 
a  good  seamanly  phrase  well  express- 
ing its  healing  comfort.  The  nights 
are  miserably  hot.  I  thirst  after 
Cintra,  and  on  Monday  hope  to  hear 
once  more  the  sound  of  running 
water. 

"  "We  were  at  the  museum  on  Mon- 
day last :  there  are  the  head  and 
hands  of  one  of  our  cousin  ourang- 
outangs  which  I  remember  to  have 
heard  of  some  years  ago.  The  poor 
fellow  who  owned  them  was  walking 
quietly  with  a  stick  in  his  hand — a 
European  saw  him,  and  shot  him. 
He  was  more  like  the  human  animal 
than  any  ape  that  had  been  seen  be- 
fore !  Unless  you  remember  the  face 
you  will  hardly  believe  how  human 
it  is,  with  black  eyebrows  and  a 
woolly  head  like  a  negro's.  I  could 
and  would  have  given  a  conscientious 
verdict  of  wilful  murder  against  the 
man  who  shot  him  :  the  cruelty  pains 
me,  and  I  smile  at  the  impudence  of 


a  Portuguese  in  presuming  to  kill  an 
ourang-outang  as  his  inferior. 

"  Some  alterations  I  find  here  :  the 
sight  of  a  generation  of  young  men 
and  women  whom  I  remember  in  the 
class  of  children,  makes  me  feel  the 
increase  of  my  own  age.  Miss  Sealy 
is  now  Mrs  Dyson,  the  Miss  Kosters 
are  diffident  and  accomplished  young 
women,  and  Miss  Berthon,  who  wore 
her  hair  tied  in  a  Portuguese  knot,  and 
was  a  pretty  girl  four  years  ago,  is 
now  the  beauty  of  Lisbon.  The 
bury  ing -ground  was  an  unpleasant 
sight.  Buller  and  the  old  Travers 
and  Mrs  Bulkeley — their  names  stared 
me  in  the  face,  and  the  Penwarne 
whom  I  knew  was  under  my  feet ; 
and  poor  little  Scott,  whose  foolish 
rhymes  I  now  remember  with  a  sort 
of  melancholy. 

"  Of  the  books  which  I  have  met 
with  none  has  amused  me  so  much 
as  a  metrical  life  of  Vieyra  the  Painter, 
written  by  himself.  It  contains  a 
good  deal  of  Portuguese  costume  ;  the 
poet  is  enormously  vain  and  abun- 
dantly superstitious,  but  his  vanity 
is  so  open  and  honest  that  you  rather 
like  him  the  better  for  praising  him- 
self so  sincerely.  I  have  analysed  it 
at  some  length  for  my  sketch  of  the 
poetical  history,  which  will  swell  to 
some  size  and  shape  before  my  re- 
turn. One  of  the  Portuguese  poets, 
the  brother  of  the  famous  Diego 
Bernardes,  passed  his  novitiate  in  the 
Cork  Convent,  professed  at  Arravida, 
and  died  a  hermit  upon  that  magnifi- 
cent mountain,  a  miserable  useless 
life,  but  he  chose  his  situations  like 
a  poet,  and  I  can  half  forgive  the 
folly  of  his  retirement  for  his  taste 
in  fixing.  The  life  of  Father  Anchieta 
very  much  tickled  my  fancy  :  as  a 
Latin  poet  I  biographise  him,  but 
Anchieta  was  a  candidate  for  canoni- 
sation and  worked  more  miracles  than 
all  the  Apostles.  Strip  him  of  his 
miracles,  and  the  truth  is  that  he  was 
an  honest  Jesuit,  who  wrote  vile 
verses  in  alphabetical  praise  of  the 
Virgin  Mary.  He  was  then  among 
the  savages  in  Brazil,  and  his  practice 
was  to  write  his  verses  upon  the  sea- 
sands,  and  then  commit  them  to 
memory  ;  and  so,  says  his  life- writer, 
he  brought  home  in  his  head  about 
5000  lines.  You  may  believe  the 
Jesuit,  if  you  please,  but  he  is  so 


172 


Some  Unpublished  Letters  of  Robert  Southey. 


[Aug. 


abominable  a  liar  that  I  do  not. 
Anchieta  was  in  the  habit  of  turning 
water  into  wine  :  '  he  did  not  do  so 
once  only,  like  Christ  at  Cana,'  says 
the  Jesuit ;  '  and  when  the  sun  was 
too  hot  he  called  the  birds  to  fly  over 
his  head  and  screen  him,'  which  was 
a  much  more  elegant  [gracioso]  mir- 
acle than  the  cloud  that  shadowed  the 
children  of  Israel. 

"  I  cannot  understand  the  pleasure 
excited  by  a  bull  -  fight,  and  it  is 
honourable  to  the  English  character 
that  none  of  our  nation  frequent 
these  spectacles.  I  am  not  quite  sure 
that  my  curiosity  in  once  going  there 
was  justifiable,  but  the  pain  inflicted 
by  the  sight  was  expiation  enough." 

Pained  and  disgusted  he  might 
well  be,  with  his  strong  affection 
for  animals,  and  tender  considera- 
tion for  all  things  living  —  a 
characteristic  which  increased,  in- 
deed, as  he  advanced  in  age.  Oats, 
we  are  told,  were  his  especial 
hobby  ;  and  many  a  pleasant  hour's 
work  was  accomplished  at  a  desk 
on  a  corner  of  which  a  favoured 
specimen  of  the  race  purred 
serenely. 

"  My  acquaintance  have  been  drop- 
ping off — not  like  autumn  leaves,  but 
like  the  blasted  spring  fruit,  and  I 
shall  again  have  the  joy  of  meeting 
my  friends  in  England  poisoned  by 
mourning  recollection. 

"  The  birth  of  your  little  girl  forces 
on  me  the  knowledge  how  far  I  am 
advanced  on  my  own  life  journey.  I 
see  the  generation  rising  who  will 
remember  me  when  my  part  is  over, 
and  Homer's  exquisite  lines  come 
upon  my  mind  of  the  leaves  that 
bud  and  flourish  and  fall  to  make 
room  for  the  race  of  the  succeeding 
spring. 

"  We  left  Cintra  on  Tuesday.  In 
the  bustle  of  removal  there  was  little 
leisure  to  be  sorry,  but  when  I  had 
seen  the  white  palace  chimneys  for 
the  last  time,  there  was  time  enough 
in  a  four  hours'  ride  to  remember 
and  regret  what  I  had  left.  The 
mosquitoes  treated  me  like  a  stranger 
on  my  return  :  they  found  out  a  hole 


in  the  net.  I  rose  in  the  night  and 
killed  nine  who  had  entered  the 
breach,  which  I  also  closed  ;  but  my 
hands,  arms,  face,  and  neck  bore  the 
marks  of  the  assault. 

"  It  was  not  till  we  arrived  in 
Lisbon  that  I  was  sensible  of  the 
astonishing  difference  between  the 
city  and  Cintra  in  climate.  These 
people  do  nothing  to  correct  their 
country  —  everywhere  some  tree  or 
other  will  grow  ;  the  olive,  the  chest- 
nut, the  pine  require  not  a  moist 
soil  ;  the  acacia  even  grows  in  the 
desert.  The  great  and  bloody  Joao 
de  Castro  is  the  only  Portuguese  who 
has  left  a  monument  of  taste  behind 
him.  I  esteem  him  more  for  planting 
his  Cintra  estate  than  for  his  exploits 
at  Din.  Every  Portuguese  then  could 
fight  and  cut  throats,  but  no  other 
ever  thought  of  planting  trees  for 
posterity. 

"  I  have  drawn  upon  you  for  thirty 
pounds.  I  must  beg  you  to  send  the 
same  sum  to  my  mother.  I  shall 
write  by  this  packet  to  have  forty 
pounds  paid  into  your  hands,  which 
will  leave  me  something  in  your  debt. 
By  letters  from  "William  Taylor  I  find 
it  is  expedient  to  remove  my  brother 
Henry,  because  he  has  outgrown  his 
situation,  and  takes  up  the  room  of  a 
more  profitable  pupil :  this,  too,  I 
collect  from  his  own  letters.  No 
alternative  offers,  and  what  William 
Taylor  suggests  is  perhaps  the  best 
plan  practicable,  to  place  him  with  a 
provincial  surgeon  of  eminence,  who 
will  for  100  guineas  board  and  in- 
struct him  for  four  or  five  years — that 
is,  till  he  is  old  enough,  after  a  year's 
London  study,  to  practise  for  himself. 
For  the  first  time  in  my  life  I  have 
the  power,  or  at  least  it  appears  so, 
of  raising  this  sum.  My  metrical 
romance  goes  by  the  King  George  to 
market,  and  I  ask  this  sum  as  the 
price  of  a  first  edition.  I  have  little 
doubt  of  obtaining  it.  I  had  designed 
to  furnish  a  house  with  this  money 
and  anchor  myself,  but  this  is  a  more 
important  call.  When  the  bargain  is 
concluded  I  shall  desire  Packman  to 
lodge  the  price  with  you.  Harry  will 
then  be  settled  till  he  is  launched 
into  the  world,  and  will  then  have  a 
profession  to  support  him — a  useful 
and  honourable  profession  which  will 


1898.] 


Some  Unpublished  Letters  nf  Robert  Southey, 


173 


always  secure  him  bread  and  inde- 
pendence. Norwich  evidently  offers 
itself  as  the  most  desirable  place  in 
which  to  settle  him,  where  he  has  all 
his  acquaintance  and  friends.  There 
W.  Taylor  will  look  out  for  a  situa- 
tion, if  indeed  he  has  not  one  already 
in  view.  Otherwise  Bristol  would  be 
thought  of,  and  there  I  shall  cause 
inquiries  to  be  made.  It  will  greatly 
rejoice  me  to  have  the  affair  accom- 
plished to  my  wish.  In  the  last  few 
month's  Henry's  mind  appears  to  have 
grown  rapidly,  and  he  is  perhaps  more 
awake  to  the  future  at  seventeen  than 
I  am  at  twenty-seven. 

"You  remember  the  old  doggerel 
that  '  learning  is  better  than  house  or 
land.'  'Tis  a  lying  proverb  !  A  good 
lifehold  estate  is  worth  all  the  fame 
of  the  world  in  perpetuity,  and  a 
comfortable  house  rather  more  desir- 
able than  a  monument  in  Westmin- 
ster Abbey. 

'•"*•  "  As  a  hot  climate  appears  rather 
to  agree  with  my  constitution  than  to 
be  any  way  injurious,  I  have  been 
advised  to  think  whether  it  be  not 
desirable  to  try  my  fate  at  the  East 
Indian  Bar,  where  the  success  of  a 
barrister  of  any  ability  is  not  doubt- 
ful. Many  and  powerful  objections 
immediately  arise.  I  doubt  whether 
the  possibility  of  acquiring  any  for- 
tune could  pay  for  the  loss  of  the 
friends  in  whose  society  so  much  of 
my  happiness  consists.  The  fate  of 
Camoens  stares  me  in  the  face,  and 
if  I  did  go,  prudence  would  be  the 
ostensible  motive,  but  the  real  one 
would  be  curiosity.  I  do  long  to  be- 
come acquainted  with  old  Brama,  and 
see  the  great  Indian  fig-tree  ;  so  at 
the  end  of  twenty  years  home  I 
should  come  with  a  copper-coloured 
face,  an  empty  purse,  and  a  portfolio 
full.  However,  I  must  give  it  a  fair 
consideration.  Tell  me  your  opinion  : 
in  these  affairs  anybody's  is  worth 
more  than  my  own. 

"  I  have  seen  the  poor  young  man 
whom  you  have  sentenced  to  pass  a 
winter  on  the  top  of  a  church,  with 
the  Abbe  and  Miss  Montague.  He 
is  melancholy  already.  This  morning 
I  shall  attempt  to  find  him  out,  and 
half  expect  to  see  him  hanging  at  the 
end  of  one  of  the  long  passages. 
George  Sealey  asked  him  if  it  were 


not  rather  lonesome,  and  he  replied 
'  rather  so '  and  smiled  ;  but  such  a 
smile 

'  as  bids 

To  Comfort  a  defiance,  to  Despair 
A  welcome,  at  whatever  hour  he  will.' 

"Octr.  29,  1800." 

Here  is  ample  evidence  that 
generosity  and  family  affection 
were  no  mere  names  to  Robert 
Southey.  In  what  an  ungrudging 
and  liberal  spirit  he  discusses  his 
young  brother's  prospects,  and  his 
intention  to  further  them  to  the 
utmost  of  his  power !  How  un- 
hesitatingly Harry's  need  of  a 
helping  hand  is  placed  before  his 
own  earnest  desire  to  furnish  a 
little  home  for  himself  and  his 
wife,  where  they  could  quietly 
settle  down  when  their  wander- 
ings came  to  an  end  ! 

It  seems  strangely  contradictory 
and  difficult  of  explanation  when 
we  find  him  remarking  elsewhere 
about  this  period,  that  he  feels  it 
unlikely  he  shall  ever  gain  the 
confidence  of  his  brothers  to  the 
extent  he  desires.  "  Whatever 
affection  they  may  feel  for  me," 
he  says,  "  a  sort  of  fear  is  mixed 
with  it.  I  am  more  the  object  of 
their  esteem  than  love."  And 
again,  some  years  afterwards,  he 
expresses  a  hope  that  he  "will  be 
more  successful  in  his  intercourse 
with  his  own  children  in  winning 
their  love  than  he  proved  himself 
in  the  case  of  his  young  brothers. 
It  may  be  that  he  was  unduly 
impressed  with  a  sense  of  his  re- 
sponsibilities as  elder  brother  and 
representative  of  their  dead  father, 
and  expressed  at  times  a  more 
liberal  than  welcome  disapproba- 
tion of  their  shortcomings.  It 
must  be  remembered,  however, 
that  he  was  only  twenty-seven  at 
this  time.  Perhaps  he  was  dimly 
conscious  of  some  error  of  judg- 
ment in  this  respect  years  after- 
wards, when  he  penned  the  follow- 


174 


Some  Unpulli^shed  Letters  of  Robert  Southey. 


[Aug. 


ing   lines    in    his    beautiful    little 
poem,  "  The  Holly  Tree  "  :— 

"And  should    my  youth,  as  youth  is 

apt,  I  know, 
Some  harshness  show, 
All  vain  asperities  I,  day  by  day, 

Would  wear  away : 
Till  the    smooth   temper   of  my  age 

should  be 

Like  the  high  leaves  upon  the  Holly 
Tree." 

A  glance  at  the  stirring  and 
romantic  history  of  Camoens, 
Portugal's  greatest  poet,  may  well 
repay  the  reader  to  whom  it  is 
unfamiliar.  Like  Cervantes  he 
fought  for  his  country,  receiving 
neither  reward  nor  preferment. 
It  is  supposed  that  the  friends  of 
a  lady  to  whom  he  was  passion- 
ately attached,  and  who  opposed 
the  union,  used  their  influence  to 
get  the  youthful  poet  banished 
from  his  native  country.  At  this 
period  —  alone,  loveless,  and  in 
exile  —  he  is  supposed  to  have 
conceived  his  noble  poem  "  The 
Lusiad,"  and  doubtless  found  in 
the  glow  of  inspiration,  and  the 
exercise  of  imagination,  some  re- 
lief from  his  grief.  After  an  age 
of  weary  wanderings  in  many 
lands  he  embarked  for  India, 
where  he  remained  until  his  recall 
to  Portugal.  But  ill-luck  pursued 
him.  On  the  voyage  home  the 
vessel  in  which  he  sailed  was 
wrecked,  and  the  poet  reached 
the  shore  with  the  greatest  diffi- 
culty, carrying  in  one  hand  a 
bundle  of  his  MSS.,  while  he 
swam  with  the  other.  Every- 
thing else  he  possessed  in  the 
world  was  lost.  It  is,  of  course, 
to  this  incident  that  Southey  al- 
ludes when  he  speaks  of  returning 
with  a  "copper-coloured  face,  an 
empty  purse,  and  a  portfolio  full." 
The  grim  irony  of  Camoens's  dy- 
ing words  fitly  illustrates  his  life. 
"  Who  ever  heard,"  he  says,  "that 


Fortune  should  wish  to  represent 
such  vast  misfortunes  on  such  a 
little  theatre  ! " 

In  the  next  letter,  dated  some 
months  after  the  previous  one, 
Harry's  affairs  are  still  under  con- 
sideration : — 

"A  letter  of  mine,  chiefly  relating 
to  Harry,  must  assuredly  have  been 
lost.  It  matters  little.  At  this  dis- 
tance all  I  could  do  was  to  express 
a  full  satisfaction  in  what  you  and 
William  Taylor  had  agreed.  To 
Henry  I  wrote  some  five  or  six 
weeks  ago,  recommending  an  un- 
biassed choice,  rather  wishing  him 
to  follow  his  uncle's  plan  than  ad- 
vising it.  Of  his  private  allowance 
I  could  only  promise  him  £5  quar- 
terly— a  sum  which,  if  good  fortune 
enabled  me,  I  should  willingly  double, 
but  which  you  must  be  aware,  know- 
ing the  extent  of  my  resources,  to  be 
the  utmost  I  can  spare  from  my  own 
wants,  and  the  demands  upon  me 
from  other  quarters.  Some  little,  a 
possible  £10,  may  be  yearly  hoped 
from  Tom,  who  is  ready  to  do  all  he 
can.  My  uncle  will,  I  know,  supply 
any  deficiency.  Yet  I  think  in  cal- 
culating from  £30  to  £40  yearly  as 
necessary,  circumstances  have  not 
been  sufficiently  considered.  My 
own  personal  expenses  have  never 
reached  even  to  the  smaller  sum. 
I  do  not  expend  £15  yearly  on  the 
whole  of  my  dress.  With  all  linen 
Henry  would  be  supplied  from  home. 
It  is,  however,  always  better  to 
allow  a  young  man  too  much  than 
too  little.  I  have  felt  the  latter  evil 
myself.  The  great  expense  of  re- 
turning will  sink  me  for  some  time 
below  the  world.  Hitherto  my  re- 
sources have  always  been  kept  equal 
with  my  expenditure  by  obscure  and 
unintermitted  labour ;  from  these 
means  a  residence  here  has  inevit- 
ably cut  me  off.  My  expenses  also 
have  been  increased  by  travelling. 
I  could  indeed  make  my  journeys 
more  than  pay  their  own  cost  did  I 
deem  it  advisable  to  publish  the 
materials  which  I  have  collected  for 
a  miscellaneous  volume  relative  to 
this  country.  From  £60  to  £80 
would  doubtless  be  paid  me  for  a 


1898.] 


Some  Unpublished  Letters  of  Robert  Sonthey. 


first  edition  ;  but,  from  the  time  it 
would  deduct  from  the  greater  work, 
I  think  it  would  be  a  bad  speculation 
from  a  pecuniary  point  of  view,  and 
in  that  point  I  must  consider  it.  I 
have  therefore  no  literary  pay  to 
expect  (except  from  the  success  of 
'Thalaba')  till  a  first  volume  of  my 
history  be  published  or  ready  for 
publication — a  labour  for  which  one 
complete  year  will  be  little. 

"  Meantime  I  can  review.  I  can 
write  rhymes  to  the  amount  of  a 
hundred  pounds,  but  this  is  impro- 
vident work.  It  is  spending  the  day 
in  getting  only  enough  for  the  dinner. 
Like  you  good  people  in  England,  I 
have  plenty  of  corn  in  the  ground, 
but  there  is  a  famine  till  the  harvest 
be  ripe. 

"  I  am  no  ways  weary  of  Portugal — 
it  would  be  the  country  of  my  choice 
residence  certainly.  Its  climate  en- 
tirely suits  me,  and  its  materials  now 
afford  me  such  ample  employment 
that  I  could  beguile  a  more  total 
solitude  than  that  in  which  we  live. 
It  is  almost  a  solitude,  and  I  look 
with  a  hunger  and  thirst  for  the  free 
and  intimate  society  of  my  English 
friends — of  those  who  can  look  back 
with  the  same  recollections,  observe 
the  present  with  the  same  feelings, 
and  look  on  to  futurity  with  the  same 
hopes. 

"  My  history  advances  well.  I  have 
stewed  down  many  a  folio  into  essen- 
tial sauce.  Half  the  labour  of  a  first 
volume  is  done — that  is,  the  timbers 
are  ready  and  the  stones  hewn,  though 
little  of  the  edifice  appears  above 
ground.  To  the  end  of  Fernando's 
reign  the  first  sketch  is  done,  the 
second  draught  to  that  of  Diniez,  the 
third  and  decent  copy  is  now  finishing 
the  second  Sancho. 

"My  guides  have  been  '  Faria,' 
'  Duart,'  '  Galvao,'  and  '  Euy  de  Pina,' 
'Duarte  Nunes,'  'Mariana  the  Rain- 
has  of  Barbosa-Zurita.'  Step  by  step 
the  '  Provas  of  the  Genealogical  His- 
tory' has  been  indispensably  useful. 
The  '  Monarquia  Lusitana '  I  have  not 
yet  been  able  to  procure  ;  and  indeed 
the  books  already  named,  with  the 
number  of  others  collaterally  consult- 
ed, were  enoiigh  to  carry  on  at  first. 

"When  three  months  are  elapsed 
from  the  time  when  you  send  Harry 


the  ten  pounds,  have  the  goodness  to 
send  him  five.  I  will  do  all  I  can  to 
prevent  him  feeling  any  inconvenience 
for  money — even  any  unpleasant  feel- 
ing ;  but  these  are  my  worst  times. 
I  live  at  more  cost  here  than  at  home, 
and  have  running  expenses  in  Eng- 
land also.  Harry  will,  I  hope,  do 
well.  He  promises  well. 
"23rd  J/ay  1801." 

The  day  arrives  for  his  return 
to  his  native  land.  With  renewed 
health,  and  a  mind  well  stored 
with  Spanish  and  Portuguese  litera- 
ture (a  rich  fund  of  material  to  be 
woven  into  many  a  delightful  page 
hereafter),  he  sets  sail  for  England, 
where  he  once  more  tastes  English 
"  bread-and-butter,"  for  which  he 
has  longed,  and  revels  in  the  as- 
sociation with  English  intellect. 

The  difficult  problem  of  ways 
and  means  appears  to  press  some- 
what heavily  upon  him  at  this 
period,  but  he  speaks  bravely  and 
hopefully  of  his  confidence  in 
solving  it  eventually,  and  even 
lends  himself  to  sanguine  anticipa- 
tions for  the  future.  When  next 
we  hear  of  him  he  is  at  Bristol, 
and  writes  as  follows : — 

"Your  letter  found  me  on  the 
point  of  setting  out  for  Worcester  to 
meet  Wynn,  with  whom  I  was  to 
take  counsel  as  to  my  future  destina- 
tion. He  will  procure  for  me  a  place 
of  secretary  to  some  legation  in  the 
south  of  Europe,  probably  at  Naples. 
This  will  be  a  permanent  establish- 
ment, with  a  prospect  of  something 
better.  It  will  settle  me  also  in  a 
good  climate,  which  I  feel  an  object 
of  more  importance  than  I  could  wish. 
I  know  not  what  the  salary  may  be, 
— small  certainly,  but  certainly  more 
than  adequate  to  the  official  duty, 
which  will  allow  me  ample  leisure  for 
my  historical  pursuits. 

"In  the  spring  my  appointment  will 
probably  take  place — the  person  who 
at  present  holds  the  office  at  the  Nea- 
politan Court  (or  rather  the  Sicilian, 
for  Palermo  is  the  residence)  being 
then  expected  to  remove.  I  shall 


176 


Some  Unpublished  Letters  of  Robert  Southey. 


[Aug. 


then,  I  trust,  soon  be  able  to  lighten 
myself  of  all  debts,  though  the  sense 
of  obligation,  as  it  ought,  will  ever 
remain.  An  unhappy  circumstance 
precludes  me  from  immediately  lessen- 
ing the  balance — the  illness  of  my  dear 
Cousin  Margaret,  a  year's  heavy  ill- 
ness, the  costs  of  which  must  be 
defrayed  by  me.  She  may  yet  linger 
some  months,  though  recovery  is  im- 
possible, and  from  me  her  support 
also  must  continue  to  be  derived.  I 
have  written  to  my  London  publisher 
proffering  him  another  poem,  to  be 
ready  for  the  press  by  the  end  of  the 
winter,  but  requesting  a  part  of  the 
payment  now — an  offer  to  which  he 
will  doubtless  accede.  On  this  I  should 
have  lived,  and  sequestered  my  quar- 
terly remittances  to  you,  but  for  these 
demands.  I  am  in  deep  water  ;  but  I 
can  swim,  and  happily  there  is  land 
in  sight. 

"You  will  ask  why  I  treat  for  a 
poem  rather  than  the  materials  which 
with  so  much  cost  and  labour  I  have 
procured  in  Portugal.  To  Portugal  I 
must  one  day  return  to  correct  those 
materials  when  they  are  digested,  and 
to  gather  what  remains.  It  is  even 
possible  that  I  may  one  day  hold  an 
official  situation  in  that  country.  To 
publish  anything  now  would  be  bar- 
ring the  doors  of  the  archives  against 
me  :  my  first  volume  must  touch 
Popery  to  the  quick — thus  have  I  a 
year's  labour  lying  dead. 

"  These  are  my  plans.  I  am  about 
soon  to  visit  Coleridge  at  Keswick — 
his  house  will  hold  us,  and  there  I 
shall  devote  myself  to  labour  as  un- 
remitting as  will  be  consistent  with 
health  and  prudence." 

The  dreams  of  opulence  hinted 
at  in  the  foregoing  letter  were, 
as  we  know,  never  realised.  Of 
prosperity  in  a  worldly  sense, 
Southey  had  little  enough  ex- 
perience throughout  his  life. 
But  he  bore  the  burden  of 
poverty  bravely  and  cheerfully, 
and  was  indeed  at  all  times  en- 
tirely without  the  stimulus  of 
worldly  ambition.  It  will  be 
remembered  that  he  afterwards 
refused  a  baronetcy  offered  him, 


through  the  instrumentality  of 
Peel,  on  the  plea  that  it  would 
be  inconsistent  for  him  to  accept 
it  in  view  of  the  exceeding  small- 
ness  of  his  means — a  pension  of 
£200  a-year  being  at  that  time 
all  he  had  to  depend  on.  After- 
wards, when  appointed  to  the 
laureateship,  he  resolutely  devoted 
the  entire  salary  connected  with 
it  to  the  future  support  of  his 
family,  for  whose  benefit,  not- 
withstanding his  unwearied  and 
unremitting  labours,  he  had  been 
unable  to  make  provision.  He 
did  not  obtain  the  appointment 
to  which  he  refers,  but  accepted 
another,  a  secretaryship  to  the 
Irish  Chancellor  of  the  Exchequer, 
— a  post  for  which  he  was  emi- 
nently unsuited,  and  which  he 
resigned  the  year  following. 

But  before  this  brief  experience 
of  what  he  calls  a  "  foolish  office, 
and  a  good  salary,"  he  had  decided 
on  a  lengthy  visit  to  the  Lake 
District  at  the  eager  invitation 
of  Coleridge,  whose  glowing 
description  of  the  scenery,  pro- 
mises of  congenial  society,  with 
easy  access  to  books,  sounded 
tempting  enough. 

" '  The  house  is  full  twice  as  large 
as  we  want,'  urges  Coleridge,  'it  has 
more  rooms  in  it  than  Allf  oxen.  You 
might  have  a  bedroom,  parlour,  study 
in  it,  and  there  would  be  room  to 
spare  for  your  and  my  visitors.  In 
short,  for  situation  and  convenience, 
and  when  I  mention  the  name  of 
Wordsworth,  for  society  of  men  of 
intellect,  I  know  no  place  in  which 
you  and  Edith  would  find  yourselves 
so  well  suited.' " 

To  Keswick  accordingly  he  goes, 
intending  that  his  wife  shall  make 
her  sister's  house  her  headquarters 
while  he  carries  out  the  plan  of 
which  he  speaks, — a  tour  in  Wales 
with  his  friend  Wynn,  in  the  in- 
terests of  '  Madoc,'  the  work  then 
under  consideration. 


1898.] 


Some  Unpublished  Letters  of  Robert  Southey. 


177 


A  spell  of  bad  weather  to  start 
with  was  disappointing,  and  the 
scenery  appeared  tame  to  eyes 
that  had  grown  accustomed  to 
beautiful  Cintra  and  its  sur- 
roundings.  "These  lakes  are  like 
rivers,"  he  exclaims,  "but  oh,  for 
the  Mend  ego  and  the  Tagus  ! 
And  these  mountains  —  beauti- 
fully indeed  are  they  shaped  and 
grouped,  but  oh,  for  the  great 
Monchique,  and  for  Cintra,  my 
paradise ! " 

The  acceptance  of  the  Irish 
secretaryship  changes  his  plans ; 
and  after  a  brief  sojourn  at 
Dublin  and  London,  a  second 
experience  of  Cumberland  more 
than  reconciles  him  to  the  spot 
which  ultimately  becomes  his 
permanent  abiding-place.  Mean- 
while, a  little  house  in  a  pictur- 
esque part  of  Wales  is  the  desire 
of  his  heart,  and  great  are  the 
plans  and  numerous  the  hopes 
with  regard  to  it  which  we  find 
communicated  to  several  friends 
at  this  period.  Every  one  has  a 
dog,  and  most  people  a  cat,  but 
he  will  have,  to  furnish  the  Welsh 
cottage,  an  otter,  a  hawk,  a  snake 
(if  Edith  permits),  and  a  toad  to 
catch  flies.  Margery  will  be  in 
her  little  high  chair  at  the  break- 
fast-table, puss  looking  for  bread 
and  milk,  and  the  snake  twisting 
up  the  leg  of  the  table  for  his 
share.  This  to  his  friend  Gros- 
venor  Bedford.  The  inference 
is  that  Edith  has  shown  herself 
possessed  of  a  long-suffering  and 
obliging  disposition,  if  the  snake 
idea  is  seriously  contemplated. 

To  May  he  writes  : — 

".From  the  day  of  my  last  letter  I 
have  been  in  a  comfortless  state  of 
compulsory  idleness,  occasioned  by  a 
complaint  in  my  eyes.  A  whole  con- 
federacy of  evils  attacked  me  im- 
mediately —  swelled  face,  to  that  I 
applied  leeches  ;  toothache,  that  was 


cured  radically  ;  symptoms  of  fever, 
which  were  driven  out  at  every  sally- 
port. I  have  got  rid  of  all  except 
the  eye  weakness,  and  that  is  very 
materially  mended.  Lancing  the 
lower  lids  was  the  effectual  remedy  ; 
still  they  are  weak.  I  am  beginning 
to  read  and  write,  but  inconveniently, 
and  with  caution. 

"A  residence  in  Wales  will  not 
place  me  so  much  out  of  your  reach 
as  you  imagine,  if  I  succeed  in  obtain- 
ing Maes  Glyn,  for  so  the  house  is 
called. 

"  I  want  to  take  it  furnished,  to 
avoid  the  first  cost  of  furniture,  and 
the  encumbrance,  if  by  good  fortune 
I  should  be  enabled  to  remove  to 
a  more  congenial  climate.  Twenty 
pounds  is  the  unfurnished  rent ;  for 
the  use  of  the  goods  from  ten  to 
fifteen  more  may  be  demanded,  if 
the  landlord  will  let  them.  It  is  a 
lovely  spot,  in  a  vale  among  moun- 
tains, eight  miles  from  Neath,  with 
canal  carriage  within  a  hundred  yards 
from  the  door.  From  Bristol  to 
Neath  is  a  distance  of  80  miles — 
a  friend  who  should  leave  Bristol  at 
midday  by  the  mail  might  reach  me 
at  breakfast  hour  the  next  morning. 
I  will  tell  you  more  about  it  and  all 
its  desirableness  if  the  business  end 
as  I  wish. 

"  I  have  just  received  a  most  valu- 
able book  from  Lisbon, — the  unpub- 
lished Chronicle  of  Fernando  by 
Fernan  Lopes,  a  MS.  by  its  appear- 
ance almost  as  old  as  the  original 
work,  from  250  to  300  years  old.  I 
am  obliged  to  keep  Lent  with  the 
feast  before  me,  for  my  eyes  are  by 
no  means  equal  to  the  task  of  un- 
ravelling its  characters.  Only  one 
chronicle  is  now  wanting  to  complete 
my  Portuguese  series. 

"  You  ask  about  Chatterton.  The 
delay  has  been  more  owing  to  the 
quantity  of  new  matter  discovered 
than  to  any  other  cause.  I  daily 
expect  to  see  it  advertised  ;  it  makes 
three  large  volumes  instead  of  two, 
at  a  guinea  and  a  half.  Thus,  you 
see,  Mrs  Newton,  for  350  copies,  will 
receive  what  for  her  is  a  very  large 
sum.  I  have  taken  no  notice  of 
Croft.  You  will  be  very  much 
pleased  with  a  view  of  the  front  of 
Redclif t  church  as  frontispiece,  show- 


178 


Some  Unpublished  Letters  of  Robert  Southey. 


[Aug. 


ing  that  magnificent  ascent  of  steps, 
which  is  the  finest  thing  of  the  kind 
in  England. 

"Mrs  Newton  relates  an  odd  dream, 
if  indeed  it  be  not  a  waking  dream, 
akin  in  imagination  and  authenticity 
to  Eowley's  poems.  She  dreamt  that 
her  brother  had  a  monument  in  Ked- 
clif  t  church,  the  stones  whereof  were 
cemented  with  a  hot  substance  that 
perpetually  grew  hotter  and  hotter, 
till  at  last  it  flamed  out ;  that  being 
about  to  dress  her  dinner,  she  had 
no  fire,  and  remembered  these  flames 
and  went  to  them  and  warmed  her 
food  upon  her  brother's  monument. 
'  Now,'  says  she,  '  my  dream  is  out  ! ' 
Surely  this  is  too  well  put  together  to 
be  a  dream. 

"  As  for  Bonaparte,  the  rascal  hav- 
ing a  hard  heart,  1  should  like  to 
try  to  make  him  tender  as  they  do 
legs  of  mutton— by  hanging  him  : 
quantum  suf. 

'"23rd  Nov.  1802." 

The  reference  to  Chatterton 
contained  in  the  above  letter  is 
explained  by  the  fact  that  Southey 
was  at  this  time  engaged  in  edit- 
ing all  that  was  left  of  the  luck- 
less young  poet's  productions,  with 
the  intention  of  publishing  a  book 
on  behalf  of  Mrs  Newton,  Chat- 
terton's  only  sister,  who,  while 
the  world  fought  desperately  over 
her  brother's  name,  fame,  and  ge- 
nius, was  struggling  to  keep  body 
and  soul  together  in  poverty  and 
obscurity. 

The  name  of  Chatterton  will 
always  be  an  attraction,  whether 
he  is  to  be  considered  as  the 
author  or  discoverer  of  the  Row- 
ley Poems :  and  it  is  impossible 
not  to  pause  for  a  moment  at  any 
mention  of  him,  well  known  as  his 
tragic  story  is  to  most  people. 
The  fraud,  if  fraud  it  was,  which 
he  dared  in  his  sixteenth  year, 
would  have  taken  best  part  of  a 
lifetime  to  accomplish  by  any 
being  less  gifted  than  its  unfor- 
tunate perpetrator.  Of  his  truth 


and  honesty  there  may  be  many  a 
doubt ;  of  his  knowledge,  imagina- 
tion, and  genius,  none. 

A   hint   as   to    Southey's    own 
opinion  as  to  the  authenticity  of 
the  Rowley  Papers  may  be  gath- 
ered   from   his   comment    on    Mrs 
Newton's  dream,  which  he  records 
above  ;  but  his  generous  indigna- 
tion at  the  meanness  of  Sir  Her- 
bert   Croft    (who,    obtaining    the 
loan    of    Chatterton's    MSS.   from 
his   sister,  took  advantage  of  her 
helplessness     and     poverty,     and 
printed  and  sold  much  for  his  own 
benefit)  induced  him  to  undertake 
the  scheme  which  ultimately  placed 
Mrs   Newton's  old  age  above  the 
reach  of  want.     Showers  of  abuse 
naturally  descended  upon  his  head 
from  Sir  Herbert  Croft,  but  his 
wise    remark    as    to    "  taking    no 
notice  of  Croft"  shows  his  usual 
sound  sense  and  judgment.     Imag- 
ination might  well  picture  a  very 
different     result    to    Chatterton's 
story    had    the    poor    proud    lad 
thrown  himself  on  the  protection 
of  such  a  man  as  Southey,  instead 
of  stretching  a  misguided  hand  in 
the  direction  of  Horace  Walpole, 
— himself  an  adept  at  literary  im- 
position, as  readers  of  'The  Castle 
of   Otranto'   may   remember,   and 
whose  hard,  and  bitter  rebuff  to  a 
fellow-sinner  played  so  prominent 
a  part  in  the  tragedy  which   fol- 
lowed,—  the  black   despair  —  the 
ignoble  suicide — the  pauper's  grave 
— a   pitiable   end    to   a   dream    of 
greatness. 

A  great  home  trouble  is  in  store 
for  him  in  the  autumn  of  1803 — 
the  death  of  little  Margaret.  He 
shortly  and  hurriedly  intimates  to 
his  friend  the  coming  sorrow  :-— 

"We  are  in  heavy  affliction.  My 
poor  child  is  dying  of  hydrocephalos, 
and  we  have  only  to  pray  to  God 
speedily  to  remove  her.  She  is  quite 


1898.] 


Some  Unpublished  Letters  of  Robert  Southey. 


179 


insensible,  that  is  our  main  consola- 
tion. Edith  is  suffering  bitterly.  I 
myself  am  recovering — perfectly  re- 
signed to  the  visitation,  perfectly 
satisfied  that  the  loss  will  be  but 
for  a  time. 

"Never  man  enjoyed  purer  happi- 
ness than  I  for  the  last  twelve 
months.  My  plans  are  now  all 
wrecked.  Your  letter  was  of  some 
little  relief  to  me. 

"  Longman's  fears  wish  to  delay 
the  Bibl.,  and  I  am  rejoiced  to  have 
no  fetter  upon  me  at  present.  As 
soon  as  it  shall  please  God  to  remove 
the  little  object,  I  shall  with  all  pos- 
sible speed  set  off  for  Cumberland. 
Edith  will  be  nowhere  so  well  as 
with  her  sister  Coleridge.  She  has 
a  little  girl  some  six  months  old,  and 
I  shall  try  and  graft  her  into  the 
wound  while  it  is  yet  fresh. 

"  August  19." 

The  blow  falls,  and  the  fond 
parents  are  childless.  We  are  not 
told  whether  the  companionship 
of  Mrs  Coleridge's  daughter  is 
beneficial  to  the  bereaved  mother, 
but  Southey  confesses  that  the 
reverse  effect  is  produced  on  him- 
self by  the  sight  of  little  Sara ; 
and  in  writing  to  his  brother  he 
complains  that  he  is  continually 
dreaming  of  his  lost  baby,  adding 
bravely,  however,  "  These  things 
do  one  good.  Men  are  the  better 
for  having  suffered ;  of  that  every 
year's  experience  more  and  more 
convinces  me." 

In  a  short  time  he  writes  again 
to  John  May,  but  in  no  very 
cheerful  frame  of  mind  : — 

"Here  we  are  after  a  long  and 
wearying  journey  little  short  of  the 
whole  length  of  England.  On  the 
way  we  stayed  five  days  with  our 
friend  Miss  Barker,  whom  you  saw 
with  us  in  London.  The  halt  was 
every  way  desirable,  for  Edith  was 
in  wretched  health  when  we  left 
Bristol,  hardly  recovered  from  a  very 
sharp  attack  of  fever.  But  she  was 
impatient  to  be  gone.  I  could  tell 


you  what  feelings  came  upon  me  at 
leaving  the  house  where  T  had  been 
so  happy  and  so  afflicted,  but  it  would 
be  folly  not  to  suppress  thoughts  that 
end  only  in  pain. 

"  Nothing  in  England  could  be 
more  beautiful  than  the  site  of  this 
house.  Had  the  country  but  the  sky 
of  Portugal  it  would  leave  nothing  to 
wish  for.  I  shall  make  the  experi- 
ment this  winter,  and  if  my  health 
bear  up  well  till  next  summer,  shall 
look  for  no  other  home  ;  but  in  truth 
my  expectations  have  been  so  often 
blighted,  that  when  I  think  of  any 
plans  for  the  future  it  is  with  the 
same  sort  of  incredulity  that  I  recol- 
lect a  dream.  To  be  away  from  my 
books  is  a  sore  evil.  I  have  sent 
enough  by  the  waggon  to  employ  me 
till  the  experiment  of  climate  be  fairly 
tried,  and  if  it  should  succeed,  can 
without  imprudence  collect  my  scat- 
tered sheep.  My  head,  too,  is  hap- 
pily well  stored  with  raw  material, 
which  will  not  be  soon  exhausted  by 
the  manufactory  ;  and  Coleridge's  is 
company  enough.  For  one  whose 
habits  are  so  sedentary  as  mine,  and 
whose  inclination  clings  so  obstinately 
to  the  hearthstone,  it  is  of  some  con- 
sequence to  be  in  a  country  that 
tempts  him  to  exercise. 

"  I  wish  it  were  in  my  power  to 
give  you  a  good  account  of  Edith. 
She  is  very  unwell  at  present,  incap- 
able of  any  enjoyment.  It  has  been 
a  heavy  blow  upon  us.  My  own 
mind  is  active  even  to  restlessness, 
and  it  has  now. been  exerted  in  all  its 
force.  Still  the  effect  is  deeper,  and 
will  be  more  lasting  than  I  had  ex- 
pected. I  cannot  shut  out  the  shoot- 
ing recollections  that  flash  upon  me. 
If  I  yielded  to  my  inclination,  I 
should  saunter  in  solitude,  dreaming 
of  the  other  world  and  of  the  state  of 
the  dead.  The  Annual  Review  will 
force  me  to  work.  I  expect  a  cargo 
from  that  quarter  shortly.  Have 
you  seen  the  first  volume  1  Almost 
the  whole  of  the  statistic  department 
is  Wm.  Taylor's  work,  most  of  the 
travel  mine,  but  not  all ;  and  I  hope 
the  difference  is  manifest.  Among 
sundry  miscellaneous  articles  of  my 
doing,  there  is  an  amusing  one  on 
El  Tesoro  Espaniol,  and  one  of  deeper 


180 


Some  Unpublished  Letters  of  Robert  Southey. 


[Aug. 


interest  upon  the  Baptist  Mission  in 
Iliudosiaii,  which  I  wrote  with  seri- 
ous feeling.  This  subject  I  shall  re- 
new in  the  next  volume  upon  the 
Mission  to  Otaheite  ;  and  it  is  my 
intention  to  belabour  the  Methodists 
with  a  hearty  goodwill. 

"I  hope  to  hear  a  good  account  of 
Mrs  May  and  your  little  boy.  You 
are  a  soldier  by  this  time.  I  too 
shall  fire  away  at  Buonaparte,  and 
perhaps  hit  him,  for  he  reads  the 
'  Morning  Post.' 

"  God  bless  you.  E.  S. 

"Direct  with  S.  T.  Coleridge,  Greeta 
Hall,  Keswick,  Cumberland." 

The  date  of  the  next  letter 
is  ISth  June  1806.  It  finds 
the  Southeys  with  another  little 
daughter  —  "  the  Edithling,"  of 
whom  we  have  many  pleasant 
glimpses  from  time  to  time  in  the 
poet's  subsequent  history.  She 
was  baptised  "Edith  May,"  in  com- 
pliment to  the  recipient  of  this 
little  group  of  letters,  who  was 
her  godfather.  Other  children 
afterwards  appeared  to  brighten 
the  home-life,  and  more  tears  were 
yet  to  be  shed  by  the  poet  and  his 
wife  for  the  failure  of  early  pro- 
mise, and  the  premature  removal 
of  a  beloved  object.  But  the  little 
Edith  throve  and  flourished  in 
spite  of  many  fears  entertained  by 
the  anxious  parents. 

"  Harry  graduates  the  24th  of  this 
month,  and  leaves  Edinburgh  as  soon 
afterwards  as  possible.  His  remain- 
ing expenses  of  graduation  and  his 
printer's  bill  amount  to  sixteen  pounds ; 
this  I  have  learnt  so  late  that  he  must 
needs  wait  some  days  longer  in  Scot- 
land than  would  else  be  needful  before 
you  can  reach  him  with  a  remittance. 
The  reason  is  that  Edith  and  I  and 
your  god-daughter  have  been  for  the 
last  ten  days  visiting  Lloyd  and  his 
wife  near  Ambleside  ;  and  tho'  from 
hence  to  Keswick  is  only  seventeen 
miles,  a  letter  is  rather  longer  in 
travelling  that  distance  than  it  is  in 
getting  to  London.  He  knew  my 
intended  movements,  and,  as  he  did 


not  recollect  them  when  he  directed 
his  letter,  must  abide  the  inconveni- 
ence as  a  necessary  and  not  unfit  con- 
sequence of  forgetfulness. 

"  Last  Thursday  I  dined  at  the 
Bishop  of  Llandaff' s,  and  was  well 
pleased  with  him.  I  liked  him  the 
better  for  having  heard  that  he  always 
protested  his  exceeding  repugnance  at 
the  prosecution  of  Gilbert  Wakefield. 
His  conversation  was  in  a  tone  of 
exceeding  liberality — even  more  than 
appears  to  me  quite  congruous  with 
his  silk  apron  ;  for  certainly  the 
articles  of  his  faith  are  not  all  to  be 
found  among  the  nine-and-thirty,  nor 
all  the  nine-and-thirty  to  be  found 
among  his.  He  paid  me  some  hand- 
some compliments  upon  '  Madoc,'  and 
among  others  that  of  showing  me  that 
he  had  read  it  very  carefully,  by 
mentioning  a  few  verbal  defects  as 
they  had  appeared  to  him. 

"  My  daughter  was  so  delighted 
with  the  new  gown  which  Mrs  May 
sent  her  that  I  thought  it  expedient  to 
inform  her  that  new  gowns  were 
among  the  pomps  and  vanities  of  this 
wicked  world — a  warning  which,  as 
you  may  perhaps  suppose,  has  not 
made  her  a  whit  the  less  proud  of  it. 

"  No  news  of  Coleridge  ! " 

The  anxiety  expressed  on  Cole- 
ridge's account  in  the  above  letter 
was  at  this  time  universal  among 
the  little  coterie  at  the  Lakes. 
More  than  two  years  before  the 
date  at  which  Southey  writes 
Coleridge  had  quitted  England 
against  the  wishes  and  advice  of 
Southey  and  others,  who  rightly 
opined  that  change  of  climate  and 
a  life  of  dilletante  travel  would 
be  powerless  to  bring  about  what 
strength  of  will  and  the  stimulus 
and  advice  of  friends  at  home  had 
been  unable  to  effect — the  break- 
ing off  of  the  unfortunate  craving 
for  narcotics,  which  was  undermin- 
ing brain  and  constitution,  and,  to 
quote  from  De  Quincey,  "  rapidly 
killing  Coleridge  as  a  poet." 

Abroad  he  was  determined  to 
go,  however — the  result  being,  as 
was  anticipated,  failure  upon  fail- 


1898.] 


Some  Unpublished  Letters  of  Robert  Soutkcy. 


ure,  so  that  his  condition  on  re- 
turning to  England  in  August 
1806  was  pitiable  in  the  extreme. 
Southey,  "hoping  all  things,"  still 
believes  in  his  friend's  reforma- 
tion, still  speaks  of  the  work  he 
is  yet  to  achieve  before  he  dies — 
adding  pathetically  that  if  he 
should  fail  to  discharge  his  debt 
to  mankind  it  would  break  his 
(Southey's)  heart. 

On  the  fallacy  of  these  and 
kindred  expectations  there  is  no 
need  to  dwell  here.  We  pass  on 
to  January  27,  1807  :— 

"  I  omitted  to  notice  the  heavy  loss 
you  sustained  in  Mr  Wakefield — from 
haste.  Letters  and  a  proof  -  sheet 
(which  requires  immediate  attention) 
coming  in  while  I  was  writing  to  you, 
put  it  out  of  my  head. 

"  What  your  loss  must  have  been 
struck  me  when  I  read  his  death  in 
the  newspaper,  and  I  sincerely  con- 
dole with  you  upon  the  occasion. 

"  The  character  which  you  sent  me 
I  like  well,  and  what  you  have  in  your 
last  added  to  it — better,  because  it  is 
more  discriminating.  You  ask  me  for 
an  inscription. .  The  successful  one,  I 
conjecture,  will  come  from  Dr  Aitken, 
a  likely  man  from  family  and  friendly 
feelings  to  attempt  one,  and  a  likely 
one  to  succeed  in  it. 

"  The  lapidary  style  is  of  all  others 
the  most  difficult.  I  have  a  volume 
written  upon  it  by  a  German, 
but  it  is  not  here,  and  I  have  never 
yet  read  it.  In  my  own  judgment, 
the  shorter  such  things  are  the  better ; 
all  cannot  be  said  upon  stone — com- 
prehension, therefore,  should  be  aimed 
at,  not  discrimination. 

"  I  would  enter  his  character  at 
length  in  the  register,  by  special 
desire  of  his  parishioners  —  and  in- 
scribe the  stone  with  something  to  this 
purport :  This  Monument  is  erected 
by  the  inhabitants  of  Richmond  in 
grateful  and  honourable  remembrance 
of  Thomas  Wakefield,  their  excellent 
pastor. 

"The  full  character  would  be 
equally  copied  from  the  register  as 
from  a  monument  into  magazines  and 
County  Histories ;  from  its  unusuality 
it  would  have  a  better  chance  of  being 


read,  and  the  circumstances  of  its 
being  so  placed  would  ensure  belief  for 
it,  which  marble,  having  been  so  long 
taught  to  tell  lies,  could  hardly  expect. 
Your  loss  in  such  a  man  must  indeed 
be  serious,  and  there  is  little  hope  that 
it  can  be  replaced. 

"  I  am  not  certain  whether  I  told 
you  in  my  last  that  I  had  adopted  a 
system  of  earlier  rising  than  usual, 
and  thus  won  a  good  hour  before 
breakfast,  which  being  thus  created 
for  the  purpose  may  allowably  be 
given  to  poetry. 

"  In  those  hours,  and  those  only,  I 
have  gone  on  with  my  Hindoo  poem, 
which  was  begun  at  Lisbon,  and  has 
been  dormant  for  many  years.  Great 
part  of  it  will  be  in  irregular  rhymes, 
at  a  higher  pitch  than  Walter  Scott's, 
for  mine  is  a  lofty  subject.  This  is 
not  all :  it  is  my  nature  to  do  two 
things  at  a  time  better  than  one. 
Or  rather  it  is  my  belief  that  time  is 
saved  by  doing  it;  because  a  train 
of  thoughts  may  be  ready  for  one 
when  it  would  be  necessary  to  wait 
for  them  before  the  other  could 
proceed.  I  am  therefore  planning 
another  heroic  poem,  to  be  begun 
forthwith,  and  prosecuted  on  these 
mornings  when  I  am  not  ready  with 
the  immediate  matter  for  'Kehama.' 
Pelayo  is  my  hero,  the  restorer  of 
Spain — a  subject  which  has  long  been 
in  my  mind.  Considering  that  the 
first  edition  of  '  Thalaba '  is  lying  in 
the  warehouse,  and  that  my  whole 
profits  on  '  Madoc '  have  amounted  to 
five-and-twenty  pounds,  this  is  having 
good  heart.  But  I  cast  my  bi^ead 
upon  the  waters,  and  if  I  myself 
should  not  live  to  find  it  after  many 
days,  my  children  will." 

A  long  pause  now  ensues  in  the 
sequence  of  the  letters, — the  next 
in  order,  written  in  the  autumn 
of  1816,  being  full  of  keen  vigour 
and  interest  in  bis  work,  with 
cheerful  anticipation  of  good  times 
to  come : — 

"  Herewith  I  send  you  a  draft  upon 
Longman  for  £100,  at  three  days' 
sight.  The  last  twelve  months  have 
proved  highly  advantageous  to  my 
monied  concerns,  and  for  the  first 
time  have  made  the  balance  of  his 


Some  Unpublished  Letters  of  Robert  Southey. 


[Aug. 


account  in  my  favour.  There  is  good 
reason  for  hoping  that  it  will  continue 
so,  and  that  it  will  not  be  long  before 
I  shall  be  able  to  clear  off  my  debt 
with  you.  '  lloderick '  has  produced 
for  me  above  five  hundred  pounds, 
by  three  editions — and  the  fourth  will 
by  this  time  have  paid  its  expenses. 
Of  the  'Pilgrimage'  2000  were 
printed :  they  were  all  sold  in  the 
course  of  two  months,  leaving  me  a 
profit  of  £215.  My  account  only 
comes  up  to  midsummer,  and  there- 
for does  not  include  the  '  Carmen 
Nuptiale,'  but  of  .the  fate  of  which  I 
know  nothing,  —  nor  indeed  what 
number  was  printed. 

"  The  prospect  before  me  is  very 
good.      The  produce  of  my  current 
publications    may    be    reckoned     at 
£200  a-year  certainly, — not   improb- 
ably at  twice  the  sum  ;  and  Murray 
pays  me  so  well  for  the  '.Quarterly' 
that  I  hope  there  will  be  no  occasion 
to  draw  much  upon  the  other  fund 
for    my  household    expenses.       For 
some  subjects  he  offers  me  £100  per 
article,  —  such    was    that   upon    the 
Poor  in  the   last  number,  and   one 
upon  Foreign  Travellers  in  England, 
which  is  designed  for  this,  and  which 
I  am  busy  in  completing.     I  have  no 
debt  but  the  one  to  you,  and  this  I 
have  great  hopes  of  liquidating  in  the 
course  of  another  year — for  the  next 
year  is  likely  to  be  a  productive  one. 
The  preface  to  '  Mort  Arthur '  (for 
which    I    am    reading    much    black 
letter,  at  some  cost  of  eyesight,  and 
no  little  expense  of  time)  will   give 
me    £200,    and    the   second   vol.    of 
'  Brazil '  about    half    as    much,  —  a 
preposterous  instance  of   the  caprice 
upon  which  a  man  of  letters  depends 
for  his  remuneration  !      Perhaps  the 
average  may  be  fair  at  last, — but  it 
is  injurious  as  well  as  ridiculous  that 
I  shall  derive  my  main  support  from 
what  other  persons  might  do  as  well, 
and  what  might  never  be  done  at  all, 
—  while    for    works    of     permanent 
value  and    great   labour,   for  which 
peculiar  knowledge,  peculiar  talents, 
and  peculiar   industry  are   required, 
the    profit  I    obtain  would    scarcely 
exceed,    and    perhaps    not     amount 
to,  the  expenses  of   the   documents. 
The  volume  will    certainly  be   pub- 
lished at  Christmas,  and  tho'  it  will 


be  less  interesting  than  the  conclud- 
ing volume,  I  think  you  will  not  be 
disappointed  in  its  contents.  There 
will  be  no  delay  with  the  conclusion, 
— I  shall  never  lay  it  aside  till  it 
is  completed, — and  the  printing  will 
be  pursued  without  interruption.  I 
have  written  no  verses  till  this  week, 
when  I  resumed  the  '  Tale  of  Para- 
guay,' which  I  may  perhaps  finish  for 
publication  in  the  spring.  There  is 
another  subject  nearer  my  heart,  but 
I  must  refrain  from  it  a  while  longer. 
It  has  pleased  God  to  support  me 
mercifully  under  the  severest  of  all 
privations,  and  it  would  be  sinful,  as 
well  as  in  the  last  degree  unwise, 
were  I  by  any  means  to  foster  feel- 
ings which  it  is  my  duty  as  far  as 
possible  to  overcome. 

"Here  is  a  letter  full  of  my  own 
concerns,  but  I  will  not  apologise  to 
you.  I  can  enter  into  the  feelings 
which  your  present  useful  occupation 
must  excite.  Wholesome  they  are, 
however  painful.  We  must  not  envy 
those  who  are  on  the  threshold  of  our 
Father's  house,  but  we  may  be  thank- 
ful that  every  day  brings  us  nearer  to 
it  ourselves.  Meantime  I  labour  dili- 
gently to  acquire  knowledge  which  I 
may  leave  behind,  and  to  treasure  up 
affection  I  may  bear  with  me. 

"18  Oct.  1816,  KESWICK." 

Again  a  long  period,  nearly  ten 
years,  elapses  between  the  last 
letter  and  its  successor,  to  which 
it  is  in  every  way  a  contrast.  This 
one,  dated  17th  July  1826,  tells  of 
another  sad  break  in  the  poet's 
family  circle : — 

"  Yesterday  evening  it  pleased  God, 
by  an  easy  and  merciful  death,  to 
release  my  dear  daughter  Isabel  from 
her  long  sufferings.  That  the  change 
is  best  for  her  I  know  and  feel.  For 
us  it  is  a  heavy  affliction.  I  thought 
myself  strong  in  heart  for  the  first  few 
hours  after  the  event ;  but  this  morn- 
ing I  am  as  weak  as  a  child,  and  my 
whole  bodily  frame  is  shaken.  The 
necessity  of  comforting  her  mother 
and  sisters  will  compel  me  to  a  degree 
of  self  -  control  which  otherwise  I 
should  not  be  able  to  exert.  Last 
night  I  felt  like  a  man  who  has  just 


1898.] 


Some  Unpublished  Letters  of  Robert  Southey. 


183 


undergone  the  amputation  of  a  painful 
limb.  I  have  arisen  this  morning  with 
a  full  sense  of  the  wound  and  of  the 
loss.  But  God's  will  be  done.  '  The 
Lord  gave,  and  the  Lord  hath  taken 

•     away.     Blessed  be  the  name  of  the 

-    Lord!' 

"Remember  us  in  your  prayers  : 
and  may  God,  who  visits  you  with 
other  trials,  spare  you  from  such  as 
this." 

A  few  days  afterwards  he  writes 
again,  and  the  letter  is  ominously 
portentous  in  the  hint  it  affords  of 
trouble  to  come,  which,  by  the 
light  of  after-events,  can  be  surely 
read  between  the  lines  : — 

"  KESWICK,  30th  July  1826. 

"  I  have  this  day  a  letter  from  Miss 
Bowles,  to  whom  I  wrote  upon  the 
subject  of  the  L'pool  Branch  Bank. 
She  encloses  to  me  Mr  Manning's 
reply  to  her  application,  wherein  he 
promises  to  mention  your  name  to  the 
directors  who  are  employed  on  this 
subject.  She  has  applied  also  to  Sir 
John  Eeid,  who  promises  all  his  in- 
terest. And  to  Mr  Boaden,  but  the 
result  of  that  application  she  does  not 
yet  know.  You  do  not  know  Miss 
Bowles  ;  but  if  you  have  read  any  of 
her  poems  you  will  wish  to  know  her, 
and  if  you  have  not,  here  are  the  titles 
of  all  she  has  published,  in  three  little 
volumes,  separately,  and  without  her 
name—'  Ellen  Fitzarthur,'  '  The  Wid- 
ow's Tale,'  'Solitary  Hours.'  There 
are  few  persons  who  rank  so  high  in 
my  esteem,  and  the  regard  which  I 
have  for  her  is  perhaps  heightened  by 
the  miserable  state  of  her  health,  which 
is  such  that  she  seems  almost  to  live 
by  miracle.  But  it  is  not  the  weak 
and  the  aged  who  are  summoned  first, 
nor  those  willing  and  desirous  to  go. 

"  My  home  is  still,  as  you  may  sup- 
pose, a  melancholy  one,  tho'  I  endeav- 
our to  lead  my  daughters  to  cheerful 
employments,  and  set  them  as  far  as  I 
can  an  example  of  cheerfulness.  They 
are,  however,  I  trust,  recovering  their 
health.  I  wish  I  could  see  the  same 
improvement  in  their  mother,  but  it 
will  be  long  before  this  can  be  looked 
for.  I  have  much  to  occupy  my 
attention,  whereas  she  can  do  nothing 

VOL.  CLXIV. — NO.  DCCCCXCIV. 


that  does  not  necessarily  remind  her  of 
her  loss.  Much  of  my  time  is  passed 
in  entire  application  to  the  work  before 
me  ;  but  her  whole  life  is  with  and  for 
her  children,  and  whatever  used  to  be 
pleasurable  is  therefore  now  mingled 
with  bitterness.  But  there  is  no  want 
of  religious  resignation,  and  it  is  only 
He  who  has  wounded  that  can  heal. 

"  For  myself,  I  am  better  in  mind 
than  in  body  ;  my  appetite  is  good  ; 
my  sleep  so  far  improved  that  I  should 
think  it  enough,  if  there  were  not  a 
sense  of  lassitude  and  weakness  upon 
me,  as  if  my  strength  were  departed." 

Heavy  shadows,  indeed,  were 
creeping  over  Southey's  horizon. 
Time  brought  no  healing  on  its 
wings  to  the  bereaved  mother : 
her  periods  of  melancholy  and 
morbid  sorrow  increased  in  fre- 
quency and  intensity,  until  she 
became  herself  the  centre  of  a 
deeper  and  more  terrible  anxiety 
than  the  poet  had  yet  known. 
Fears  for  her  reason — sometimes 
transient,  but  always  recurrent — 
forced  themselves  upon  the  re- 
luctant minds  of  the  husband  and 
children.  The  unhappy  sequel  to 
these  gloomy  forebodings  is  well 
known — Mrs  Southey  became  hope- 
lessly and  incurably  insane.  For  a 
time,  in  the  expectation  that  she 
might  derive  benefit  from  experi- 
enced medical  treatment,  she  was 
removed  to  an  asylum ;  but  when 
that  hope  was  finally  extinguished, 
she  was  again  received  under  her 
husband's  roof,  and  faithfully  and 
tenderly  cared  for  until  the  end. 

We  gather  some  interesting 
glimpses  of  Mrs  Southey's  per- 
sonality from  the  beautiful  letters 
of  Sara  Coleridge,  the  pretty  baby 
whose  innocent  smiles  were  fraught 
with  such  anguish  to  her  uncle 
Southey,  on  his  first  appearance  at 
Greta  Hall,  while  mourning  the 
loss  of  his  eldest-born.  Though 
not  so  handsome,  in  her  opinion, 
as  Mrs  Coleridge  (Sara's  mother), 
her  aunt,  she  tells  us,  was  remark- 


184 


Some  Unpublished  Letters  of  Robert  Southey. 


[Aug. 


able  for  her  "fine  figure  and  quietly 
commanding  air." 

The  sympathy  of  their  friends 
was  very  precious  to  the  afflicted 
relatives  of  her  who  had  been  a 
devoted  and  tender  wife  and  mother 
for  nearly  forty  years.  The  Words- 
worths  especially  were  moved  to 
compassion,  doubtless  augmented 
by  the  presence  of  a  similar  trouble 
in  their  own  immediate  circle. 
Wordsworth,  for  his  friend's  con- 
solation, wrote  the  following 
lines : — 

' '  Oh,  what  a  wreck  !  how  changed  in 
mien  and  speech  ! 

Yet  though  dread  Powers  that  work  in 
mystery,  spin 

Entanglings  for  her  brain  ;  though  sha- 
dows stretch 

O'er  the  chilled  heart — reflect !  far,  far 
within 

Hers  is  a  holy  Being,  freed  from  sin : 

She  is  not  what  she  seems,  a  forlorn 
wretch ; 

But  delegated  spirits  comfort  fetch 

To  her  from  heights  that  reason  may 
not  win." 

I  have  more  than  once  seen  it 
asserted  that  the  above  fine  lines 
were  called  forth  by  the  sad  mental 
condition  of  his  sister  Dorothy,  to 
whom  he  was  so  passionately  at- 
tached ;  but  in  an  unpublished 
letter  to  his  daughter  Dora,  which 
now  lies  before  me,  Wordsworth 
distinctly  states  that  it  was  Mrs 
Southey's  melancholy  state  that 
inspired  them.  From  this  letter 
they  are  transcribed,  as  they  differ 
in  some  slight  respects  from  the 
printed  version.  He  adds  :  "The 
thought  in  the  sonnet,  as  it  now 
stands,  has  ever  been  a  consolation 
to  me,  almost  as  far  back  as  I  can 
remember;  and  hope  that — thus 
expressed  —  it  may  prove  so  to 
others,  makes  one  wish  to  print 
it." 

The  melancholy  retrospection  in 
which  Southey  indulges  in  the  next 
letter  transcribed  is  not  surprising 
in  view  of  the  sad  influences  by 


which  he  is  surrounded.  He  is, 
besides,  condoling  with  May  on  the 
loss  of  a  brother. 

"  KESWICK,  5  of  April  1837. 

"My  DEAR  OLD  FRIEND, — I  am 
more  grieved  than  surprised  at  the 
event  of  which  your  letter  has  this  day 
informed  me.  Where  an  incurable 
disease  existed  no  termination  could 
have  been  more  to  be  desired,  in  all 
its  circumstances,  of  which  the  time 
of  its  occurrence  is  not  the  least 
striking.  In  such  cases  we  soon  learn 
to  look  upon  it  as  a  relief  when  that 
event  has  taken  place  which  was 
continually  to  be  apprehended. 

"  The  task  upon  which  I  have  been 
for  the  most  part  employed  has 
brought  before  me  a  train  of  recol- 
lections extending  almost  through 
half  a  century.  In  preparing  my 
poems  for  the  press,  arranging  them 
in  the  order  in  which  they  are  per- 
manently to  appear,  and  giving  them 
the  last  revision  that  it  is  probable, 
or  indeed  possible,  that  I  should  ever 
bestow,  the  days  that  are  gone  have 
passed  before  me  as  vividly  as  in 
dreams,  and  I  have  forcibly  felt  the 
changes  in  myself,  and  in  everything 
about  me.  In  the  smaller  pieces  I 
have  made  no  alteration  than  such  as 
were  required  to  get  rid  of  faults  of 
language  ;  as  for  amending  juvenile 
compositions  in  any  other  way,  the 
attempt  would  be  absurd.  But  with 
regard  to  '  Joan  of  Arc '  the  case  was 
different.  That  poem  was  written 
in  1793,  and  nearly  rewritten  as  it 
passed  through  the  press  in  1795. 
By  that  time  I  had  so  far  advanced 
in  the  art  of  poetry  that  the  greater 
part  of  what  was  added  then  required 
very  little  correction  ;  the  rest  was 
full  of  barbarisms  of  language.  I  set 
patiently  to  work,  and  in  point  of 
style  have  made  the  whole  of  a  piece. 
If  you  saw  the  interlined  copy  you 
would  wonder  at  my  patience. 

"  My  poor  Edith  continues  in  the 
same  hopeless  state,  sometimes  rest- 
less for  several  days,  then  again  quiet 
and  silent,  —  quite  manageable  in 
everything,  except  that  the  presence 
of  any  strangers  in  the  house  disturbs 
her,  so  that  it  would  be  impossible 
for  me  to  admit  any  company. 

"EGBERT  SOUTHEY." 


1898.] 


Some  Unpublished  Letters  of  Robert  Southr.y. 


185 


There  now  only  remains  one 
more  letter,  in  which  we  find 
Southey  impressed  with  a  sense 
of  the  change  which  has  come 
over  his  once  cheerful  and  happy 
•  home.  Death  has  by  this  time 
released  the  long  -  suffering  wife 
from  her  piteous  burden  of  trouble. 
Edith  has  left  her  father's  roof  for 
a  home  of  her  own.  Greta  Hall  has 
become  a  comparative  solitude  : — 

"Poor  Gilbert,  when  he  drew  out 
the  scheme  of  my  nativity,  pronounced 
of  me  that  I  possessed  'a  gloomy 
capability  of  walking  thro'  desolation.' 
That  capability  is  now  put  to  the 
proof,  —  for  this  house  is  desolate 
indeed  compared  to  what  it  was  when 
you  were  here  some  sixteen  years 
ago. 

'•f  '  You  will  read  with  some  interest 
the  preface  to  'Thalaba,'  which  will 
be  ready  for  you  at  the  end  of  this 
month,  and  that  to  'Madoc'  which 
comes  next.  Something  more  inter- 
esting to  you  than  any  of  the  notices 
in  these  prefaces  relates  to  the  'Bal- 
lad of  the  Well  of  St  Keyne.'  The 
extract  from  'Fuller's  Worthies,' which 
gave  me  the  foundation  for  that  poem, 
was  made  in  your  little  room  in  Bed- 
ford Square.  Recollections  of  this 
kind  meet  me  in  every  page  of  these 
volumes, — the  when,  and  the  where, 
and  the  wherefore, — the  days  that 
are  gone,  and  the  old  familiar  faces. 

"  But  the  most  painful  part  of  my 
task  is  over, — none  but  those  who 
know  under  what  circumstances  it 
was  performed  can  imagine  how 
singularly  painful  it  must  have  been. 
Yet  it  is  a  satisfaction  to  have  per- 
formed it.  On  the  whole,  I  look  on 


the  minor  poems  with  sufficient  com- 
placency ;  such  as  are  mere  exercises  or 
sportive  effusions  have  no  harm  in 
them,  and  the  better  pieces  represent 
what  I  was  and  am, — you  can  bear 
witness  how  faithfully.  It  remains 
to  be  seen  how  the  publication  will 
answer.  I  am  now  so  much  alone 
that  were  it  not  for  the  habit  of 
reading  proof-sheets  aloud,  I  should 
almost  forget  the  sound  of  my  own 
voice." 

The  fading  out  of  a  strong  in- 
dividuality is  always  inexpressibly 
painful.  The  Robert  Southey  in- 
stinct with  animation  and  earnest- 
ness, strength  and  mobility,  keenly 
interested  in  public  affairs,  and 
insatiable  in  the  accumulation  and 
diffusion  of  knowledge,  passes 
rapidly  from  before  our  eyes.  In 
his  place  we  see  a  Southey,  rest- 
less, unsettled,  and  inactive,  with 
a  mind  become  practically  dead  to 
everything  but  his  still  beloved 
books, — an  object  of  commisera- 
tion to  all  around  him.  Then 
follows  the  inevitable  moment 
when — his  sun  continuing  to  set 
gradually  but  surely — the  silent 
voices  of  the  "  mighty  dead  " — the 
sight  of  the  very  books  themselves, 
— are  powerless  to  bring  the  light 
of  intelligence  to  his  dimmed  eyes. 

Southey  died  in  the  year  1843, 
at  the  age  of  sixty-eight,  bequeath- 
ing to  the  world — not  alone  the 
valuable  results  of  his  indefatigable 
labours,  but  an  imperishable  rec- 
ord of  a  pure  and  blameless  life. 
E.  BAUMER  WILLIAMS. 


186 


John  Splendid,  —  Conclusion. 


[Aug. 


JOHN    SPLENDID:1 


THE    TALE    OF    A    POOR    GENTLEMAN,    AND    THE    LITTLE    WARS    OF    LORN. 
CHAPTER    XXXII. A    SCANDAL    AND    A    QUARREL. 


FOR  some  days  I  kept  to  Glen 
Shira  as  the  tod  keeps  to  the  cairn 
when  heather  burns,  afraid  almost 
to  let  even  my  thoughts  wander 
there  lest  they  should  fly  back 
distressed,  to  say  the  hope  I  cher- 
ished was  in  vain.  I  worked  in 
the  wood  among  the  pines  that 
now  make  rooftrees  for  my  home, 
and  at  nights  I  went  on  ceilidh 
among  some  of  the  poorer  houses 
of  the  Glen,  and  found  a  drug  for 
a  mind  uneasy  in  the  tales  our 
peasants  told  around  the  fire.  A 
drug,  and  yet  a  drug  sometimes 
with  the  very  disease  in  itself  I 
sought  for  it  to  kill.  For  the  love 
of  a  man  for  a  maid  is  the  one 
story  of  all  lands,  of  all  ages,  trick 
it  as  we  may,  and  my  good  people, 
telling  their  old  ancient  histories 
round  the  fire,  found,  although 
they  never  knew  it,  a  young  man's 
quivering  heart  a  score  of  times  a 
night. 

Still  at  times,  by  day  and  night 
— ay  !  in  the  very  midmost  watches 
of  the  stars  —  I  walked,  in  my 
musing,  as  I  thought,  upon  the 
causeyed  street,  where  perhaps  I 
had  been  sooner  in  the  actual  fact 
if  M 'Tver's  departure  had  not  been 
delayed.  He  was  swaggering,  they 
told  me,  about  the  town  in  his  old 
regimentals,  every  pomp  of  the 
foreign  soldier  assumed  again  as  if 
they  had  never  been  relaxed  in  all 
those  five  or  six  years  of  peace  and 
commerce.  He  drank  stoutly  in 
the  taverns,  and  'twas  constantly, 
"Landlady,  I'm  the  lawing,"  for 
the  fishermen,  that  they  might  love 


him.  A  tale  went  round,  too, 
that  one  morning  he  went  to  a 
burial  in  Kilmalieu,  and  Argile 
was  there  seeing  the  last  of  an  old 
retainer  to  his  long  home,  and  old 
Macnachtan  came  riding  down  past 
corpse  and  mourner  with  his  only 
reverence  a  finger  to  his  cap. 
"Come  down  off  your  horse  when 
Death  or  Argile  goes  bye,"  cried 
M'lver,  hauling  the  laird  off  his 
saddle.  But  between  Argile  and 
him  were  no  transactions';  the  pride 
of  both  would  not  allow  it,  though, 
it  was  well  known  that  their  affec- 
tions were  stronger  than  ever  they 
had  been  before,  and  that  Gordon 
made  more  than  one  attempt  at  a 
plan  to  bring  them  together. 

It  is  likely,  too,  I  had  been 
down — leaving  M'lver  out  of  con- 
sideration altogether  —  had  there 
not  been  the  tales  about  Mac- 
Lachlan,  tales  that  came  to  my  ears 
in  the  most  miraculous  way,  with 
no  ill  intention  on  the  part  of  the 
gossips — about  his  constant  haunt- 
ing of  Inneraora  and  the  company 
of  his  cousin.  He  had  been  seen 
there  with  her  on  the  road  to 
Carlunan.  That  venue  of  all 
others !  God !  did  the  river  sing 
for  him  too  among  its  reeds  and 
shallows ;  did  the  sun  tip  Dun- 
chuach  like  a  thimble  and  the  wild 
beast  dally  on  the  way  1  That  was 
the  greatest  blow  of  all !  It  left 
plain  (I  thought  in  my  foolishness) 
the  lady's  coolness  when  last  I  met  t 
her ;  for  me  henceforth  (so  said  ( 
bitterness)  the  serious  affairs  oH 
life,  that  in  her. notion  set  me  more 


Copyright,  1897,  by  Dodd,  Mead  &  Co.  in  the  United  States  of  America. 


1898.] 


John  Splendid. — Conclusion. 


187 


than  courtship.  I  grew  solemn,  so 
gloomy  in  spirit  that  even  my 
father  observed  the  ceasing  of  my 
whistle  and  song,  and  the  less 
readiness  of  my  smile.  And  he, 
poor  man,  thought  it  the  melan- 
choly  of  Inverlochy  and  the  influ- 
ence of  this  ruined  countryside. 

When  I  went  down  to  the  town 
again  the  very  house-fronts  seemed 
inhospitable,  so  that  I  must  pass 
the  time  upon  the  quay.  There 
are  days  at  that  season  when  Loch 
Finne,  so  calm,  so  crystal,  so  dupli- 
cate of  the  sky,  seems  like  water 
sunk  and  lost  for  ever  to  wind  and 
wave,  when  the  sea-birds  doze 
upon  its  kindly  bosom  like  bees 
upon  the  flower,  and  a  silence 
hangs  that  only  breaks  in  distant 
innuendo  of  the  rivers  or  the  low 
of  cattle  on  the  Cowal  shore.  The 
great  bays  lapse  into  hills  that  float 
upon  a  purple  haze,  forest  nor  lea 
has  any  sign  of  spring's  extrava- 
gance or  the  flame  of  the  autumn 
that  fires  Dunchuach  till  it  blazes 
like  a  torch.  All  is  in  the  light 
sleep  of  the  year's  morning,  and 
what,  I  have  thought,  if  God  in 
His  pious  whim  should  never 
awake  it  any  more? 

It  was  such  a  day  when  I  went 
up  and  down  the  rough  cobble  of 
the  quay,  and  to  behold  men  work- 
ing there  at  their  noisy  and  secular 
occupations  seemed,  at  first,  a  Sab- 
bath desecration.  But  even  they 
seemed  affected  by  this  marvellous 
peace  of  sea  and  sky,  as  they  lifted 
from  the  net  or  rested  on  the  tackle 
to  look  across  greasy  gunnels  with 
some  vague  unquiet  of  the  spirit  at 
the  marvellous  restfulness  of  the 
world.  Their  very  voices  learned 
a  softer  note  from  that  lulled  hour 
of  the  enchanted  season,  and  the 
faint  blue  smoke  of  their  den-fires 
rose  and  mingled  in  the  clustered 
masts  or  nestled  wooing  in  the  dry- 
ing sails.  Then  a  man  in  drink 
came  roaring  down  the  quay,  an 


outrage  on  the  scene,  and  the 
magic  of  the  day  was  gone !  The 
boats  bobbed  and  nudged  each 
other  or  strained  at  the  twanging 
cord  as  seamen  and  fishers  spanged 
from  deck  to  deck;  rose  cries  in 
loud  and  southward  Gaelic  or  the 
lowlands  of  Air.  The  world  was 
no  longer  dreaming  but  stark 
awake,  all  but  the  sea  and  the 
lapsing  bays  and  the  brown  float- 
ing hills.  Town  Inneraora  bustled 
to  its  marge.  Here  was  merchan- 
dise, here  the  pack  and  the  bale ; 
snuffy  men  in  perukes,  knee- 
breeched  and  portly,  came  and 
piped  in  high  English,  managing 
the  transport  of  their  munitions 
ashore. 

I  was  standing  in  the  midst  of 
the  throng  of  the  quay-head,  with 
my  troubled  mind  finding  ease  in 
the  industry  and  interest  of  those 
people  without  loves  or  jealousies, 
and  only  their  poor  merchandise  to 
exercise  them,  when  I  started  at 
the  sound  of  a  foot  coming  up  the 
stone  slip  from  the  water-edge.  I 
turned,  and  who  was  there  but 
MacLachlan?  He  was  all  alone 
but  for  a  haunch-man,  a  gillie-wet- 
foot  as  we  call  him,  and  he  had 
been  set  on  the  slip  by  a  wherry 
that  had  approached  from  Cowal 
side  unnoticed  by  me  as  I  stood  in 
meditation.  As  he  came  up  the 
sloping  way,  picking  his  footsteps 
upon  the  slimy  stones,  he  gave  no 
heed  to  the  identity  of  the  person 
before  him ;  and  with  my  mood  in 
no  way  favourable  to  polite  dis- 
course with  the  fellow,  I  gave  a 
pace  or  two  round  the  elbow  of 
the  quay,  letting  him  pass  on  his 
way  up  among  the  clanking  rings 
and  chains  of  the  moored  gaberts, 
the  bales  of  the  luggers,  and  the 
brawny  and  crying  mariners.  He 
was  not  a  favourite  among  the 
quay  -  folk,  this  pompous  little 
gentleman,  with  his  nose  in  the  air 
and  his  clothing  so  very  gaudy. 


188 


John  Splendid. — Conclusion. 


[Aug. 


The  Lowlands  men  might  salute 
his  gentility  if  they  cared  ;  no  resi- 
denters  of  the  place  did  so,  but 
turned  their  shoulders  on  him  and 
were  very  busy  with  their  affairs 
as  he  passed.  He  went  bye  with 
a  waff  of  wind  in  his  plaiding,  and 
his  haunch-man  as  he  passed  at  a 
discreet  distance  got  the  double 
share  of  jibe  and  glunch  from  the 
mariners. 

At  first  I  thought  of  going  home  ; 
a  dread  came  on  me  that  if  I  waited 
longer  in  the  town  I  might  come 
upon  this  intruder  and  his  cousin, 
when  it  would  sore  discomfort  me 
to  do  so.  Thus  I  went  slowly  up  the 
quay,  and  what  I  heard  in  the  bye- 
going  put  a  new  thought  in  my 
head. 

Two  or  three  seamen  were  talking 
together  as  I  passed,  with  nudges 
and  winks  and  sly  laughs,  not 
natives  of  the  place  but  from  farther 
up  the  loch,  yet  old  frequenters 
with  every  chance  to  know  the  full 
ins  and  outs  of  what  they  discoursed 
upon.  I  heard  but  three  sentences 
as  I  passed ;  they  revealed  that  Mac- 
Lachlan  at  Kilniichael  market  had 
once  bragged  of  an  amour  in  Inner- 
aora.  That  was  all !  But  it  was 
enough  to  set  every  drop  of  blood 
in  my  body  boiling.  I  had  given 
the  dog  credit  for  a  decent  affection, 
and  here  he  was  narrating  a  filthy 
and  impossible  story.  Liar  !  liar  ! 
liar  !  Ai  first  the  word  rose  to  my 
mouth,  and  I  had  to  choke  it  at  my 
teeth  for  fear  it  should  reveal  my 
passion  to  the  people  as  I  passed 
through  among  them  with  a  face 
inflamed  ;  then  doubt  arose,  a  con- 
tention of  recollections,  numb  fears 
— but  the  girl's  eyes  triumphed  :  I 
swore  to  myself  she  at  least  should 
never  know  the  villany  of  this  vulgar 
and  lying  rumour  set  about  the 
country  by  a  rogue. 

Now  all  fear  of  facing  the  street 
deserted  me.  I  felt  a  man  upright, 
imbued  with  a  strong  sense  ol 


justice  ;  I  felt  I  must  seek  out  John 
Splendid  and  get  his  mind,  of  all 
others,   upon   a   villany   he    could 
teach  me  to  avenge.     I  found  him 
at  Askaig's  corner,  a  flushed  man 
with  perhaps  (as  I  thought  at  first)      , 
too  much  spirits  in  him  to  be  the     ' 
most  sensible  of  advisers  in  a  matter 
of  such  delicacy. 

"  Elrigmore  !  "  he  cried  ;  "  sir,  I 
give  you  welcome  to  Inneraora ! 
You  will  not  know  the  place,  it  has 
grown  so  much  since  you  last  visited 
its  humble  street." 

"  I'm  glad  to  see  you  now,  John," 
I  said  hurriedly.  "  I  would  sooner 
see  you  than  any  other  living  per- 
son here." 

He  held  up  a  finger  and  eyed  me 
pawkily.  "  Come,  man,  come  ! "  he 
said,  laughing.  "  On  your  oath 
now,  is  there  not  a  lady  1  And  that 
minds  me  ;  you  have  no  more 
knowledge  of  the  creatures,  no  more 
pluck  in  their  presence,  than  a  child. 
Heavens,  what  a  soldier  of  fortune 
is  this  !  Seven  years  among  the 
army;  town  to  town,  camp  to 
camp,  here  to-day  and  away  to- 
morrow, with  a  soldier's  pass  to  love 
upon  your  back  and  haunch,  and 
yet  you  have  not  learned  to  lift  the 
sneck  of  a  door,  but  must  be  tap- 
tapping  with  your  finger-nails." 

"I  do  not  know  what  you  mean," 
said  I. 

"  Lord!  Lord!"  he  cried,  pretend- 
ing amazement,  "and  here's  school- 
ing !  Just  think  it  over  for  your- 
self. You  are  not  an  ill -looking 
fellow  (though  I  think  I  swing  a 
kilt  better  myself),  you  are  the  pro- 
per age  (though  it's  wonderful  what 
a  youngish-looking  man  of  not  much 
over  forty  may  do),  you  have  a 
name  for  sobriety,  and  Elrigmore 
carries  a  good  many  head  of  cattle 
and  commands  a  hundred  swords, — 
would  a  girl  with  any  wisdom  and 
no  other  sweetheart  in  her  mind  ( 
turn  her  back  on  such  a  list  of 
virtues  and  graces  1  If  I  had  your 


1898.] 


John  Splendid. — Conclusion. 


189 


reputation  and  your  estate,  I  could 
have  the  pick  of  the  finest  women 
in  Argile — ay,  and  far  beyond  it." 

"Never  mind  about  that  just 
now,"  I  demanded,  gripping  my 
preacher  by  the  hand  and  forcing 
X  him  with  me  out  of  the  way  of  the 
passers-by,  whose  glance  upon  us 
would  have  seemed  an  indelicacy 
when  we  were  discussing  so  precious 
a  thing  as  my  lady's  honour. 

"  But  I  shall  mind  it,"  insisted 
M'lver,  pursing  his  lips  as  much  to 
check  a  hiccough  as  to  express  his 
determination.  "  It  seems  I  am 
the  only  man,  dare  take  the  liberty. 
Fie  on  ye  !  man,  fie  !  you  have  not 
once  gone  to  see  the  Provost  or  his 
daughter  since  I  saw  you  last.  I 
dare  not  go  myself  for  the  sake  of 
a  very  stupid  blunder ;  but  I  met 
the  old  man  coming  up  the  way  an 
hour  ago,  and  he  was  asking  what 
ailed  you  at  them.  Will  I  tell  you 
something,  Colin?  The  Provost's 
a  gleg  man,  but  he's  not  so  gleg  as 
his  wife.  The  dame  for  me  !  say 
I,  in  every  household,  if  it's  her 
daughter's  love-affairs  she's  to  keep 
an  eye  on." 

"  You  know  so  much  of  the  lady 
and  her  people,"  said  I,  almost 
losing  patience,  "  that  it's  a  won- 
der you  never  sought  her  for  your- 
self." 

He  laughed.  "  Do  you  think 
so?"  he  said.  "I  have  no  doubt 
of  the  result ;  at  least  I  would  have 
had  no  doubt  of  it  a  week  or  two 
ago,  if  I  had  taken  advantage  of  my 
chances."  Then  he  laughed  anew. 
"  I  said  Mrs  Brown  was  gleg ;  I'm 
just  as  gleg  myself." 

This  tipsy  nonsense  began  to  an- 
noy me;  but  it  was  useless  to  try  to 
check  it,  for  every  sentence  uttered 
seemed  a  spark  to  his  vanity. 

"It's  about  Betty  I  want  to 
speak,"  I  said. 

"  And  it's  very  likely  too  ;  I 
would  not  need  to  be  very  gleg  to 
see  that.  She  does  not  want  to 


speak  to  me,  however,  or  of  me,  as 
you'll  find  out  when  once  you  see 
her.  I  am  in  her  black  books  sure 
enough,  for  I  saw  her  turn  on  the 
street  not  an  hour  ago  to  avoid 
me." 

Ha  "  She'll  not  do  that  to  MacLach- 
lan,"  I  put  in,  glad  of  the  opening, 
"  unless  she  hears — and  God  forbid 
it — that  the  scamp  lightlies  her 
name  at  common  fairs." 

M'lver  drew  himself  up,  stopped, 
and  seemed  to  sober. 

"What's  this  you're  telling 
me  ? "  he  asked,  and  I  went  over 
the  incident  on  the  quay.  It  was 
enough.  It  left  him  as  hot  as  my- 
self. He  fingered  at  his  coat-but- 
tons and  his  cuff's,  fastening  and 
unfastening  them ;  he  played  ner- 
vously with  the  hilt  of  his  dirk; 
up  would  go  his  brows  and  down 
again  like  a  bird  upon  his  prey; 
his  lips'  would  tighten  on  his  teeth, 
and  all  the  time  he  was  muttering 
in  his  pick  of  languages  sentiments 
natural  to  the  occasion.  Gaelic  is 
the  poorest  of  tongues  to  swear  in  : 
it  has  only  a  hash  of  borrowed 
terms  from  Lowland  Scots  ;  but  my 
cavalier  was  well  able  to  make  up 
the  deficiency. 

"  Quite  so ;  very  true  and  very 
comforting,"  I  said  at  last;  "but 
what's  to  be  done  ? " 

"  What's  to  be  done  ?  "  said  he, 
with  a  start.  "Surely  to  God 
there's  no  doubt  about  that ! " 

"  No,  sir  ;  I  hope  you  know  me 
better.  But  how's  it  to  be  done  ? 
I  thought  of  going  up  in  front  of 
the  whole  quay  and  making  him 
chew  his  lie  at  the  point  of  my 
dagger.  Then  I  thought  more  for- 
mality was  needed  —  a  friend  or 
two,  a  select  venue,  and  careful 
leisure  time  for  so  important  a 
meeting." 

"  But  what's  the  issue  upon 
which  the  rencontre  shall  take 
place?"  asked  M'lver,  it  seemed 
to  me  with  ridiculous  scrupulosity. 


190 


John  Splendid. — Conclusion. 


[Aug. 


"  Why  need  you  ask  1 "  said  I. 
"  You  do  not  expect  me  to  invite 
him  to  repeat  the  insult  or  exag- 
gerate the  same." 

M'lver  turned  on  me  almost 
roughly  and  shook  me  by  the 
shoulder.  "Man!"  said  he,  "wake 
up,  and  do  not  let  your  wits  hide 
in  the  heels  of  your  hoots.  Are 
you  clown  enough  to  think  of 
sending  a  lady's  name  around  the 
country  tacked  on  to  a  sculduddry 
tale  like  this?  You  must  make 
the  issue  somewhat  more  politic 
than  that." 

"  I  agree  with  you,"  I  confessed ; 
"  it  was  stupid  of  me  not  to  think 
of  it,  hut  what  can'  I  do  1  I 
have  no  other  quarrel  with  the 
man." 

"  Make  one,  then,"  said  M'lver. 
"  I  cannot  comprehend  where  you 
learned  your  trade  as  cavalier,  or 
what  sort  of  company  you  kept  in 
Mackay's,  if  you  did  not  pick  up 
and  practise  the  art  of  forcing  a 
quarrel  with  a  man  on  any  issue 
you  cared  to  choose.  In  ten 
minutes  I  could  make  this  young 
fellow  put  down  his  gage  in  a  dis- 
pute ahout  the  lacing  of  boots." 

"But  in  that  way  at  least  I'm 
the  poorest  of  soldiers.  I  never 
picked  a  quarrel,  and  yet  here's 
one  that  sets  my  gorge  to  my  pal- 
ate, yet  cannot  he  fought  upon." 

"Tuts,  tuts!  man,"  he  cried,  "it 
seems  that,  after  all,  you  must 
leave  the  opening  of  this  little  play 
to  John  M'lver.  Come  with  me  a 
hit  yont  the  Cross  here  and  take  a 
lesson." 

He  led  me  up  the  wide  pend 
close  and  round  the  back  of  old 
Stonefield's  dwelling,  and  into  a 
corner  of  a  lane  that  gave  upon  the 
fields,  yet  at  the  same  time  kept  a 
plain  view  of  the  door  of  Askaig's 
house,  where  we  guessed  MacLach- 
lan  was  now  on  his  visit  to  the 
Provost's  family. 

"  Let  us  stand  here,"  said  he,  "and 


I'll  swear  I'm  not  very  well  ac- 
quainted with  our  friend's  habits 
if  he's  not  passing  this  way  to 
Carlunan  sometime  in  the  next  ten 
minutes,  for  I  saw  Mistress  Betty 
going  up  there,  as  I  said,  not  so 
very  long  ago."  i\ 

This  hint  at  MacLachlan's  per- 
sistency exasperated  me  the  more. 
I  felt  that  to  have  him  by  the 
throat  would  be  a  joy  second  only 
to  one  other  in  the  world. 

M'lver  saw  my  passion — it  was 
ill  to  miss  seeing  it — and  seemed 
struck  for  the  first  time  by  the 
import  of  what  we  were  engaged 
upon. 

"  We  were  not  given  to  consider 
the  end  of  a  duello  from  the  open- 
ing when  abroad,"  he  said;  "but 
that  was  because  we  were  abroad, 
and  had  no  remonstrance  and  re- 
minder in  the  face  of  familiar  fields 
and  houses  and  trees,  and  the  pass- 
ing footsteps  of  our  own  people. 
Here,  however,  the  end's  to  be  con- 
sidered from  the  beginning — have 
you  weighed  the  risks  in  your 
mind  1 " 

"I've  weighed  nothing,"  said  I, 
shortly,  "  except  that  I  feel  in  me 
here  I  shall  have  his  blood  before 
nightfall." 

"  He's  a  fairly  good  hand  with 
his  weapon,  they  tell  me." 

"If  he  was  a  wizard,  with  the 
sword  of  Great  Donald,  I  would 
touch  him  to  the  vitals.  Have  I 
not  learned  a  little,  if  you'll  give 
me  the  credit,  from  Para  Mor?" 

"I  forgot  that,"  said  M'lver; 
"you'll  come  through  it  all  right. 
And  here's  our  man  coming  up  the 
lane.  ISTo  anger  now ;  nothing  to 
be  said  on  your  side  till  I  give  you 
a  sign,  and  then  I  can  leave  the 
rest  to  your  wisdom." 

MacLachlan  came  staving  up  the 
cobbles  in    a   great  hurry,   nailing 
the  air  as  he  ,went  with   a  short        / 
rattan,    for   he    affected    some    of 
the  foppish  customs  the  old  officers 


1898.] 


John  Splendid. — Conclusion. 


brought  back  from  the  Continent. 
He  was  for  passing  us  with  no  more 
than  a  jerk  of  the  head,  but  M'lver 
and  I  between  us  took  up  the 
mouth  of  the  lane,  and  as  John 
seemed  to  smile  on  him  like  one 
with  gossip  to  exchange,  he  was 
bound  to  stop. 

"Always  on  the  going  foot, 
MacLachlan,"  said  John,  airily.  "  I 
never  see  a  young  gentleman  of 
your  age  and  mettle  but  I  wish  he 
could  see  the  wisdom  of  putting 
both  to  the  best  purpose  on  the 
field." 

"  With  your  cursed  foreigners, 
I  suppose  you  mean,"  said  the 
young  fellow.  "I  could  scarcely 
go  as  a  private  pikeman  like  your- 
self." 

"  I  daresay  not,  I  daresay  not," 
answered  M'lver,  pricked  at  his 
heart  (I  could  tell  by  his  eye)  by 
this  reflection  upon  his  humble 
office,  but  keeping  a  marvellously 
cool  front  to  his  cockerel.  "  And 
now  when  I  think  of  it,  I  am  afraid 
you  have  neither  the  height  nor 
width  for  even  so  ornamental  a  post 
as  an  ensign's." 

MacLachlan  restrained  himself 
too,  unwilling,  no  doubt,  as  I 
thought,  to  postpone  his  chase  of 
the  lady  by  so  much  time  as  a 
wrangle  with  John  M'lver  would 
take  up.  He  affected  to  laugh  at 
Splendid's  rejoinder,  turned  the 
conversation  upon  the  disjasket 
condition  of  the  town,  and  edged 
round  to  get  as  polite  a  passage  as 
possible  between  us,  without  be- 
traying any  haste  to  sever  himself 
from  our  company.  But  both  John 
Splendid  and  I  had  our  knees 
pretty  close  together,  and  the  very 
topic  he  started  seemed  to  be  the 
short  cut  to  the  quarrel  we  sought. 

"A  poor  town  indeed,"  admitted 
M'lver,  readily,  "but  it  might  be 
worse.  It  can  be  built  anew. 
There's  nothing  in  nature,  from  a 
pigsty  to  a  name  for  valour  and 


honour,  that  a  wise  man  may  not 
patch  up  somehow." 

MacLachlan's  retort  to  this  open- 
ing was  on  the  tip  of  his  tongue ; 
but  his  haste  made  him  surrender 
a  taunt  as  likely  to  cause  trouble. 
"You're  very  much  in  the  proverb 
way  to-day,"  was  all  he  said.  "  I'm 
sure  I  wish  I  saw  Inneraora  as  hale 
and  complete  as  ever  it  was :  it 
never  had  a  more  honest  friend 
than  myself." 

"  That  one  has  missed,"  thought 
I,  standing  by  in  a  silent  part 
of  this  three-cornered  convention. 
M'lver  smiled  mildly,  half,  I 
should  think,  at  the  manner  in 
which  his  thrust  had  been  foiled, 
half  to  keep  MacLachlan  still  with 
us.  His  next  attack  was  more 
adroit  though  roundabout,  and  it 
effected  its  purpose. 

"I  see  you  are  on  your  way  up 
to  the  camp,"  said  he,  with  an 
appearance  of  indifference.  "We 
were  just  thinking  of  a  daunder 
there  ourselves." 

"  No,"  said  MacLachlan,  shortly  ; 
"I'm  for  farther  up  the  Glen." 

"Then  at  least  we'll  have  your 
company  part  of  the  way,"  said 
John,  and  the  three  of  us  walked 
slowly  off,  the  young  gentleman 
with  no  great  warmth  at  the  idea, 
which  was  likely  to  spoil  his  ex- 
cursion to  some  degree.  M'lver 
took  the  place  between  us,  and  in 
the  rear,  twenty  paces,  came  the 
gille  cas-fleucli. 

"I  have  been  bargaining  for  a 
horse  up  here,"  said  John  in  a 
while,  "and  I'm  anxious  that 
Elrigmore  should  see  it.  You'll 
have  heard  I'm  off  again  on  the 
old  road." 

"There's  a  rumour  of  it,"  said 
MacLachlan,  cogitating  on  his  own 
affairs,  or  perhaps  wondering  what 
our  new  interest  in  his  company 
was  due  to. 

"Ah!  it's  in  my  blood,"  said 
John, — "  in  my  blood  and  bones  ! 


192 


John  Splendid. — Conclusion. 


[Aug. 


Argile  was  a  fairly  good  master — 
so  to  call  him  —  but  —  well,  you 
understand  yourself:  a  man  of  my 
kind  at  a  time  like  this  feels  more 
comfortable  anywhere  else  than  in 
the  neighbourhood  of  his  chief." 

"  I  daresay,"  replied  MacLachlan, 
refusing  the  hook,  and  yet  with  a 
sneer  in  his  accent. 

"  Have  you  heard  that  his  lord- 
ship and  I  are  at  variance  since 
our  return  from  the  North?" 

"  Oh  !  there's  plenty  of  gossip  in 
the  town,"  said  MacLachlau.  "It's 
common  talk  that  you  threw  your 
dagger  in  his  face.  My  father, 
who's  a  small  chief  enough  so  far 
as  wealth  of  men  and  acres  goes, 
would  have  used  the  weapon  to  let 
out  the  hot  blood  of  his  insulter 
there  and  then." 

"I  daresay,"  said  M'lver. 
"You're  a  hot-headed  clan.  And 
MacCailein  has  his  own  ways." 

"  He's  welcome  to  keep  them 
too,"  answered  the  young  fellow, 
his  sneer  in  no  ways  abated.  I 
became  afraid  that  his  carefully 
curbed  tongue  would  not  give  us 
our  opening  before  we  parted,  and 
was  inclined  to  force  his  hand;  but 
M'lver  came  in  quickly  and  more 
astutely. 

"How?  "said  he;  "what's  your 
meaning?  Are  you  in  the  notions 
that  he  has  anything  to  learn  of 
courtesy  and  gallantry  on  the 
other  side  of  the  loch  at  Strath- 
lachlan  ? " 

MacLachlan's  eyes  faltered  a  little 
under  his  pent  brows.  Perhaps  he 
had  a  suspicion  of  the  slightest 
that  he  was  being  goaded  on  for 
some  purpose,  but  if  he  had,  his 
temper  was  too  raw  to  let  him 
qualify  his  retort  with  calmness. 

"Do  you  know,  Barb  reck,"  said 
he,  "I  would  not  care  to  say  much 
about  what  your  nobleman  has  to 
learn  or  unlearn  ?  As  for  the  gal- 
lantry —  good  Lord,  now  !  —  did 
you  ever  hear  of  one  of  my  house 


leaving  his  men  to  shift  for  them- 
selves when  blows  were  going  1 " 

M'lver,  with  an  utterance  the 
least  thought  choked  by  an  anger 
due  to  the  insult  he  had  wrought 
for,  shrugged  his  shoulders,  and  at 
the  same  time  gave  me  his  elbow 
in  the  side  for  his  sign. 

"I'm  sorry  to  hear  you  say  that 
about  Gillesbeg  Gruamach,"  said 
he.  "  Some  days  ago,  half  as  much 
from  you  would  have  called  for  my 
correction ;  but  I'm  out  of  his  lord- 
ship's service,  as  the  rumour  rightly 
goes,  and  seeing  the  manner  of  my 
leaving  it  was  as  it  was,  I  have  no 
right  to  be  his  advocate  now." 

"But  I  have!"  said  I,  hotly, 
stopping  and  facing  MacLachlan, 
with  my  excuse  for  the  quarrel 
now  ready.  "  Do  you  dare  come 
here  and  call  down  the  credit  of 
MacCailein  Mor  ? "  I  demanded  in 
the  English,  with  an  idea  of  put- 
ting him  at  once  in  a  fury  at 
having  to  reply  in  a  language  he 
spoke  but  indifferently. 

His  face  blanched ;  he  knew  I 
was  doubling  my  insult  for  him. 
The  skin  of  his  jaw  twitched  and 
his  nostrils  expanded;  a  hand  went 
to  his  dirk-hilt  on  the  moment. 

"And  is  it  that  you  are  the 
advocate?"  he  cried  to  me  in  a 
laughable  kind  of  Scots.  I  was 
bitter  enough  to  mock  his  words 
and  accent  with  the  airs  of  one 
who  has  travelled  far  and  knows 
other  languages  than  his  own. 

"  Keep  to  your  Gaelic,"  he  cried 
in  that  language ;  "  the  other  may 
be  good  enough  to  be  insolent  in ; 
let  us  have  our  own  for  courtesies." 

"  Any  language,"  said  I,  "  is  good 
enough  to  throw  the  lie  in  your 
face  when  you  call  MacCailein  a 
coward." 

"  Grace  of  God  !  "  said  he ;  "I 
called  him  nothing  of  the  kind;  but 
it's  what  he  is  all  the  same."  < 

Up  came  his  valet  and  stood  at 
his  arm,  his  blade  out,  and  his 


1898.] 


John  Splendid. — Conclusion. 


whole  body  ready  to  spring  at  a 
signal  from  his  master. 

I  kept  my  anger  out  of  my  head, 
and  sunk  to  the  pit  of  my  stomach 
while  I  spoke  to  him.  "  You  have 
said  too  much  about  Archibald, 
V  Marquis  of  Argile,"  I  said.  "A 
week  or  two  ago,  the  quarrel  was 
more  properly  M'lver's  ;  now  that 
he's  severed  by  his  own  act  from 
the  clan,  I'm  ready  to  take  his  place 
and  chastise  you  for  your  insolence. 
Are  you  willing,  John  ? "  I  asked, 
turning  to  my  friend. 

"If  I  cannot  draw  a  sword  for 
my  cousin  I  can  at  least  second  his 
defender,"  he  answered  quickly. 

MacLachlan's  colour  came  back  ; 
he  looked  from  one  to  the  other 
of  us,  and  made  an  effort  to  laugh 
with  cunning. 

"  There's  more  here  than  I  can 
fathom,  gentlemen,"  said  he.  "  I'll 


swear  this  is  a  forced  quarrel ;  but 
in  any  case  I  fear  none  of  you. 
Alasdair,"  he  said,  turning  to  his 
man,  who  it  seemed  was  his  dalta  or 
foster-brother,  "  we'll  accommodate 
those  two  friends  of  ours  when  and 
where  they  like." 

"Master,"  cried  the  gillie,  "I 
would  like  well  to  have  this  on  my 
own  hands,"  and  he  looked  at  me 
with  great  venom  as  he  spoke. 

MacLachlan  laughed.  "  They 
may  do  their  dangerous  work  by 
proxy  in  this  part  of  the  shire,"  said 
he ;  "  but  I  think  our  own  Cowal 
ways  are  better  ;  every  man  his  own 
quarrel." 

"  And  now  is  the  time  to  settle 
it,"  said  I ;  "  the  very  place  for  our 
purpose  is  less  than  a  twenty 
minutes'  walk  off." 

Not  a  word  more  was  said  ;  the 
four  of  us  stepped  out  again. 


CHAPTER  XXXIII. THE    BROKEN    SWORD. 


We  went  along  the  road  two  and 
two,  M'lver  keeping  company 
behind  with  the  valet,  who  would 
have  stabbed  me  in  the  back  in  all 
likelihood  ere  we  had  made  half  our 
journey,  had  there  been  no  such 
caution.  We  walked  at  a  good  pace, 
and  fast  as  we  walked  it  was  not  fast 
enough  for  my  eagerness,  so  that  my 
long  steps  set  the  shorter  ones  of 
MacLachlan  pattering  beside  me  in 
a  most  humorous  way  that  annoyed 
him  much,  to  judge  from  the  efforts 
he  made  to  keep  time  and  preserve 
his  dignity.  Not  a  word,  good  or 
bad,  was  exchanged  between  us  ;  he 
left  the  guidance  to  me,  and  followed 
without  a  pause  when,  over  the  tip 
of  the  brae  at  Tarra  Dubh,  I  turned 
sharply  to  the  left  and  plunged  into 
the  wood. 

In  this  part  of  the  wood  there  is 
a  laracli  or  site  of  an  ancient  church. 
No  stone  stands  there  to-day,  no 
one  lives  who  has  known  another 


who  has  heard  another  say  he  has 
seen  a  single  stone  of  this  umquhile 
house  of  God ;  but  the  sward  lies 
flat  and  square  as  in  a  garden, 
levelled,  and  in  summer  fringed 
with  clusters  of  the  nettle  that 
grows  over  the  ruins  of  man  with  a 
haste  that  seems  to  mock  the 
brevity  of  his  interests,  and  the 
husbandman  and  the  forester  for 
generations  have  put  no  spade  to  its 
soil.  A  cill  or  cell  we  call  it  in  the 
language ;  and  the  saying  goes  among 
the  people  of  the  neighbourhood 
that  on  the  eve  of  Saint  Patrick 
bells  ring  in  this  glade  in  the  forest, 
sweet,  soft,  dreamy  bells,  muffled  in 
a  mist  of  years — bells  whose  sounds 
have  come,  as  one  might  fancy,  at 
their  stated  interval,  after  pealing 
in  a  wave  about  God's  universe 
from  star  to  star,  back  to  the  place 
of  their  first  chiming.  Ah  !  the 
monk  is  no  longer  there  to  hear 
them,  only  the  mavis  calls  and  the 


194 


John  Splendid.  —  Conclusion. 


Aug. 


bee  in  its  period  hums  where  matins 
rose.  A  queer  thought  this,  a 
thought  out  of  all  keeping  with  niy 
bloody  mission  in  the  wood,  which 
was  to  punish  this  healthy  youth 
beside  me  ;  ye+.  to-day,  looking  back 
on  the  occasion,  I  do  not  wonder 
that,  going  a-murdering,  my  mind 
in  that  glade  should  soften  by  some 
magic  of  its  atmosphere.  For,  ever 
was  I  a  dreamer,  as  this  my  portion 
of  history  may  long  since  have  dis- 
closed. Ever  must  I  be  fronting 
the  great  dumb  sorrow  of  the  uni- 
verse, thinking  of  loves  undone,  of 
the  weakness  of  man,  poor  man,  a 
stumbler  under  the  stars,  the  sicken- 
ing lapse  of  time,  the  vast  and  awe- 
some voids  left  by  people  dead, 
laughter  quelled,  eyes  shut  for  ever- 
more, and  scenes  evanished.  And 
it  was  ever  at  the  crisis  of  things 
my  mind  took  on  this  mood  of 
thought  and  pity. 

It  was  not  of  my  own  case  I 
reflected  there,  but  of  the  great 
swooning  silences  that  might  be 
tenanted  ere  the  sun  dropped  behind 
the  firs  by  the  ghost  of  him  I  walked 
with.  Not  of  my  own  father,  but 
of  an  even  older  man  in  a  strath 
beyond  the  water  hearing  a  rap  at 
his  chamber  door  to-night  and  a 
voice  of  horror  tell  him  he  had  no 
more  a  son.  A  fool,  a  braggart,  a 
liar  the  less,  but  still  he  must  leave 
a  vacancy  at  the  hearth  !  My  glance 
could  not  keep  off  the  shoulder  of 
him  as  he  walked  cockily  beside  me, 
a  healthy  brown  upon  his  neck,  and 
I  shivered  to  think  of  this  hour  as 
the  end  of  him,  and  of  his  clay  in  a 
little  stretched  upon  the  grass  that 
grew  where  psalm  had  chanted  and 
the  feet  of  holy  men  had  passed. 
Kill  him  !  The  one  thrust  of  fence 
I  dare  not  neglect  was  as  sure  as  the 
arrow  of  fate ;  I  knew  myself  in  my 
innermost  his  executioner. 

It  was  a  day,  I  have  said,  of  ex- 
ceeding calm,  with  no  trace  left 
almost  of  the  winter  gone,  and  the 


afternoon  came  on  with  a  crimson 
upon  the  west,  and  numerous  birds 
in  flying  companies  settled  upon 
the  bushes.  The  firs  gave  a  per- 
fume from  their  tassels  and  plumes, 
and  a  little  burn  among  the  bushes 
gurgled  so  softly,  so  like  a  sound  of 
liquor  in  a  goblet,  that  it  mustered 
the  memories  of  good  companion- 
ship. No  more  my  mind  was  on 
the  knave  and  liar,  but  on  the 
numerous  kindnesses  of  man. 

We  stepped  in  upon  the  bare  lar- 
ach  with  the  very  breath  checked 
upon  our  lips.  The  trees  stood 
round  it  and  back,  knowing  it  sanc- 
tuary ;  tall  trees,  red,  and  rough  at 
the  hide,  cracked  and  splintered  in 
roaring  storms ;  savage  trees,  coarse 
and  vehement,  but  respecting  that 
patch  of  blessed  memory  vacant 
quite  but  of  ourselves  and  a  little 
bird  who  turned  his  crimson  breast 
upon  us  for  a  moment  then  van- 
ished with  a  thrill  of  song.  Crim- 
son sky,  crimson-vested  bird,  the 
colour  of  that  essence  I  must  be 
releasing  with  the  push  of  a  wea- 
pon at  that  youth  beside  me  ! 

John  Splendid  was  the  first  to 
break  upon  the  silence. 

"  I  was  never  so  much  struck 
with  the  Sunday  feeling  of  a  place," 
he  said;  "I  daresay  we  could  find 
a  less  melancholy  spot  for  our 
meeting  if  we  searched  for  it,  but 
the  day  goes,  and  I  must  not  be 
putting  off  an  interesting  event 
both  of  you,  I'm  sure,  are  eager  to 
begin." 

"  Indeed  we  might  have  got  a 
more  suitable  place  in  many  ways," 
I  confessed,  my  hands  behind  me, 
with  every  scrap  of  passion  gone 
from  my  heart. 

MacLachlan  showed  no  such 
dubiety.  "  What  ails  you  at  the 
place  ? "  he  asked,  throwing  his 
plaid  to  his  servant,  and  running 
his  jacket  off  its  wooden  buttons  at 
one  tug.  "  It  seems  to  me  a  most 
particularly  fine  place  for  our  busi- 


1898.] 


John  Splendid. — Conclusion. 


195 


ness.  But  of  course,"  he  added 
with  a  sneer,  "  I  have  not  the  ex- 
perience of  two  soldiers  by  trade, 
who  are  so  keen  to  force  the  corn- 
hat." 

V  He  threw  off  his  belt,  released 

the  sword  from  its  scabbard — a 
clumsy  weapon  of  its  kind,  abrupt, 
heavy,  and  ill-balanced,  I  could 
tell  by  its  slow  response  to  his 
wrist  as  he  made  a  pass  or  two  in. 
the  air  to  get  the  feel  of  it.  He 
was  in  a  cold  bravado,  the  lad, 
with  his  spirit  up,  and  utterly 
reckless  of  aught  that  might  hap- 
pen him,  now  saying  a  jocular  word 
to  his  man,  and  now  gartering  his 
hose  a  little  more  tightly. 

I  let  myself  be  made  ready  by 
John  Splendid  without  so  much  as 
putting  a  hand  to  a  buckle,  for  I 
was  sick  sorry  that  we  had  set  out 
upon  this  adventure.  Shall  any 
one  say  fear  1  It  was  as  far  from 
fear  as  it  was  from  merriment.  I 
have  known  fear  in  my  time — the 
fear  of  the  night,  of  tumultuous 
sea,  of  shot-ploughed  space  to  be 
traversed  inactively  and  slowly,  so 
my  assurance  is  no  braggadocio, 
but  the  simple  truth.  The  very 
sword  itself,  when  I  had  it  in  my 
hand,  felt  like  something  alive  and 
vengeful. 

Quick  as  we  were  in  preparing, 
the  sun  was  quicker  in  descending, 
and  as  we  faced  each  other,  with- 
out any  of  the  parades  of  foreign 
fence,  the  sky  hung  like  a  bloody 
curtain  between  the  trees  behind 
MacLachlan. 

M'lver  and  the  servant  now 
stood  aside  and  the  play  began. 
MacLachlan  engaged  with  the  left 
foot  forward,  the  trick  of  a  man 
who  is  used  to  the  targaid,  and  I 
saw  my  poor  fool's  doom  in  the 
antiquity  of  his  first  guard.  In 
\  two  minutes  I  had  his  whole  bud- 

get of  the  art  laid  bare  to  me ;  he 
had  but  four  parries — quarte  and 
tierce  for  the  high  lines,  with  septime 


and  second  for  the  low  ones — and 
had  never  seen  a  counter-parry  or 
lunge  in  the  whole  course  of  his 
misspent  life. 

"  Little  hero  !  "  thought  I,  "  thou 
art  a  spitted  cockerel  already,  and 
yet  hope,  the  blind,  the  ignorant, 
has  no  suspicion  of  it ! " 

A  faint  chill  breeze  rose  and 
sighed  among  the  wood,  breathed 
from  the  west  that  faced  me,  a 
breeze  bearing  the  odour  of  the 
tree  more  strong  than  before,  and 
of  corrupt  leafage  in  the  heughs. 
Our  weapons  tinkled  and  rasped, 
the  true-points  hissed  and  the  pom- 
mels rang,  and  into  the  midst  of 
this  song  of  murderous  game  there 
trespassed  the  innocent  love-lilt  of 
a  bird.  I  risked  him  the  flash  of 
an  eye  as  he  stood,  a  becking  black 
body  on  a  bough,  his  yellow  beak 
shaking  out  a  flutey  note  of  pas- 
sionate serenade.  Thus  the  irony 
of  nature  ;  no  heed  for  us,  the  head 
and  crown  of  things  created  :  the 
bird  would  build  its  home  and 
hatch  its  young  upon  the  sapling 
whose  roots  were  soaked  by  young 
MacLachlan's  blood. 

His  blood  !  That  was  now  the 
last  thing  I  desired.  He  fought 
with  suppleness  and  strength,  if 
not  with  art ;  he  fought,  too,  with 
venom  in  his  strokes,  his  hair 
tossed  high  upon  his  temples,  his 
eyes  the  whitest  of  his  person,  as 
he  stood,  to  his  own  advantage, 
that  I  never  grudged  him,  with  his 
back  against  the  sunset.  I  con- 
tented with  defence  till  he  cursed 
with  a  baffled  accent.  His  man 
called  piteously  and  eagerly ;  but 
M'lver  checked  him,  and  the  fight 
went  on.  Not  the  lunge,  at  least, 
I  determined,  though  the  punish- 
ment of  a  trivial  wound  was  scarce 
commensurate  with  his  sin.  So  I 
let  him  slash  and  sweat  till  I 
wearied  of  the  game,  caught  his 
weapon  in  the  curved  guard  of  my 
hilt,  and  broke  it  in  two. 


196 


John  Splendid. — Conclusion. 


[Aug. 


He  dropped  the  fragment  in  his 
hand  with  a  cry  of  mingled  anger 
and  despair,  snatched  a  knife  from 
his  stocking,  and  rushed  on  me  to 
stab.  Even  then  I  had  him  at  my 
mercy.  As  he  inclosed,  I  made  a 
complete  volte  with  the  left  foot, 
passed  back  my  right  in  rear  of 
his,  changed  my  sword  into  my 
left  hand,  holding  it  by  the  middle 
of  the  blade  and  presenting  the 
point  at  his  throat,  while  my  right 
hand,  across  his  body,  seized  his 
wrist. 

For  a  moment  I  felt  the  anger  at 
his  treachery  almost  overmaster  me. 
He  thought  himself  gone.  He  let 
his  head  fall  helplessly  on  my 
breast,  and  stood  still  as  one  wait- 
ing the  stroke,  with  his  eyes,  as 
M'lver  told  me  again,  closed  and 
his  mouth  parted.  But  a  spasm  of 
disgust  at  the  uncleanness  of  the 
task  to  be  done  made  me  retch  and 
pause. 

"Home,  dog!"  I  gasped,  and  I 
threw  him  from  me  sprawling  on 
the  sod.  He  fell,  in  his  weariness, 
in  an  awkward  and  helpless  mass ; 
the  knife,  still  in  his  hand,  pierced 
him  on  the  shoulder,  and  thus  the 
injury  I  could  not  give  him  by  my 
will  was  given  him  by  Providence. 
Over  on  his  back  he  turned  with 
a  plash  of  blood  oozing  at  his 
shirt,  and  he  grasped  with  clawing 
fingers  to  staunch  it,  yet  never  re- 
linquishing his  look  of  bitter  anger 
at  me.  With  cries,  with  tears, 
with  names  of  affection,  the  gillie 
ran  to  his  master,  who  I  saw  was 
not  very  seriously  injured. 

M'lver  helped  me  on  with  my 
coat. 

"  You're  far  too  soft,  man !  "  he 
said.  "  You  would  have  let  him 
go  scathless,  and  even  now  he  has 
less  than  his  deserts.  You  have  a 
pretty  style  of  fence,  do  you  know, 
and  I  should  like  to  see  it  paraded 
against  a  man  more  your  equal." 

"You'll    never   see    it    paraded 


by  me,"  I  answered,  sorrowfully. 
"  Here's  my  last  duello,  if  I  live  a 
thousand  years."  And  I  went  up 
and  looked  at  my  fallen  adversary. 
He  was  shivering  with  cold,  though 
the  sweat  hung  upon  the  young 
down  of  his  white  cheeks,  for  the 
night  air  was  more  bitter  every 
passing  moment.  The  sun  was  all 
down  behind  the  hills,  the  valley 
was  going  to  rest,  the  wood  was  al- 
ready in  obscurity.  If  our  butcher- 
work  had  seemed  horrible  in  that 
sanctuary  in  the  open  light  of 
day,  now  in  the  eve  it  seemed 
more  than  before  a  crime  against 
Heaven.  The  lad  weltering,  with 
no  word  or  moan  from  his  lips; 
the  servant  stanching  his  wound, 
shaken  the  while  by  brotherly 
tears  ;  M'lver,  the  old  man-at-arms, 
indifferent,  practised  to  such  sights, 
and  with  the  heart  no  longer 
moved  by  man-inflicted  injury ; 
and  over  all  a  brooding  silence  ; 
over  all  that  place,  consecrated  once 
to  God  and  prayer  by  men  of 
peace,  but  now  degraded  to  a  den 
of  beasts — over  it  shone  of  a  sudden 
the  new  wan  crescent  moon  !  I 
turned  me  round,  I  turned  and  fell 
to  weeping  in  my  hands  ! 

This  abject  surrender  of  mine 
patently  more  astounded  the  com- 
pany than  had  the  accident  to 
MacLachlan.  M'lver  stood  dum- 
foundered,  to  behold  a  cavalier  of 
fortune's  tears,  and  MacLachlan's 
face,  for  all  its  pain,  gave  up  its 
hate  and  anger  for  surprise  as  he 
looked  at  me  over  the  shoulder  of 
his  kneeling  clansman  plying  rude 
leech-craft  on  his  wound. 

"Are  you  vexed  1"  said  he,  with 
short  breaths. 

"  And  that  bitterly ! "  I  answered. 

"Oh,  there  is  nothing  to  grieve 
on,"  said  he,  mistaking  me  most 
lamentably.  "  I'll  give  you  your 
chance  again.  I  owe  you  no  less ; 
but  my  knife,  if  you'll  believe  me, 
sprang  out  of  itself,  and  I  struck 


1898.] 


John  Splendid. — Conclusion. 


197 


at  you    in   a    ruddy  mist    of  the 
senses." 

"I   seek    no    other    chance,"    I 

said  ;    "  our  feuds   are   over :    you 

were   egged   on   by   a    subterfuge, 

V        deceit    has    met    deceit,    and    the 

balance  is  equal." 

His  mood  softened,  and  we 
helped  him  to  his  feet,  M'lver  a 
silent  man  because  he  failed  to 
comprehend  this  turn  of  affairs. 
We  took  him  to  a  cothouse  down 
at  the  foot  of  the  wood,  where  he 
lay  while  a  boy  was  sent  for  a 
skilly  woman. 

In  life,  as  often  as  in  the  stories 
of  man's  invention,  it  is  the  one 
wanted  who  comes  when  the  occa- 
sion needs,  for  God  so  arranges, 
and  if  it  may  seem  odd  that  the 
skilly  woman  the  messenger  brought 
back  with  him  for  the  dressing  o± 
MacLachlan's  wound  was  no  other 
than  our  Dark  Dame  of  Lorn,  the 
dubiety  must  be  at  the  Almighty's 
capacity,  and  not  at  my  chronicle 
of  the  circumstance.  As  it  hap- 
pened, she  had  come  back  from 
Dalness  some  days  later  than  our- 
selves, none  the  worse  for  her  ex- 
perience among  the  folks  of  that 
unchristian  neighbourhood,  who 
had  failed  to  comprehend  that  the 
crazy  tumult  of  her  mind  might, 
like  the  sea,  have  calm  in  its 
depths,  and  that  she  was  more  than 
by  accident  the  one  who  had 
alarmed  us  of  their  approach.  She 
had  come  back  with  her  frenzy 
reduced,  and  was  now  with  a  sister 
at  Bal-an-tyre  the  Lower,  whose 
fields  slope  on  Aora's  finest  bend. 

For  skill  she  had  a  name  in  three 
parishes ;  she  had  charms  sure  and 
certain  for  fevers  and  boasts;  the 
lives  of  children  were  in  her  hands 
while  yet  their  mothers  bore  them ; 
she  knew  manifold  brews,  decoc- 
tions, and  clysters ;  at  morning  on 
the  saints'  days  she  would  be  in  the 
woods,  or  among  the  rocks  by  the 
rising  of  the  sun,  gathering  mosses 


and  herbs  and  roots  that  contain 
the  very  juices  of  health  and  the 
secret  of  age.  I  little  thought  that 
day  when  we  waited  for  her,  and 
my  enemy  lay  bleeding  on  the  fern, 
that  she  would  bring  me  the  cure 
for  a  sore  heart,  the  worst  of  all 
diseases. 

While  M'lver  and  I  and  the 
gillie  waited  the  woman's  coming, 
MacLachlan  tossed  in  a  fever,  his 
mind  absent  and  his  tongue  run- 
ning on  without  stoppage,  upon 
affairs  of  a  hundred  different  hues, 
but  all  leading  sooner  or  later  to 
some  babble  about  a  child.  It  was 
ever  "the  dear  child,"  the  "m'eudail 
gheal,"  " the  white  treasure,"  "the 
orphan  " ;  it  was  always  an  accent 
of  the  most  fond  and  lingering 
character.  I  paid  no  great  heed  to 
this  constant  wail ;  but  M'lver  pon- 
dered and  studied,  repeating  at  last 
the  words  to  himself  as  Mac- 
Lachlan uttered  them. 

"  If  that's  not  the  young  one  in 
Carlunan  he  harps  on,"  he  concluded 
at  last,  "  I'm  mistaken.  He  seems 
even  more  wrapt  in  the  child  than 
does  the  one  we  know  who  mothers 
it  now,  and  you'll  notice,  by  the 
way,  he  has  nothing  to  say  of 
her." 

"  Neither  he  has,"  I  confessed, 
well  enough  pleased  with  a  fact 
he  had  no  need  to  call  my  atten- 
tion to. 

"  Do  you  know,  I'm  on  the  verge 
of  a  most  particular  deep  secret?" 
said  John,  leaving  me  to  guess  what 
he  was  at,  but  I  paid  no  heed  to 
him. 

The  skilly  dame  came  in  with 
her  clouts  and  washes.  She  dressed 
the  lad's  wound  and  drugged  him 
to  a  more  cooling  slumber,  and  he 
was  to  be  left  in  bed  till  the  next 
day. 

"What's  all  his  cry  about  the 
child?"  asked  M'lver,  indifferently, 
as  we  stood  at  the  door  before 
leaving.  "Is  it  only  aj  fancy  on 


198 


John  Splendid. — Conclusion. 


[Aug. 


his  brain,  or  do  you  know  the  one 
he  speaks  of?" 

She  put  on  a  little  air  of  vanity, 
the  vanity  of  a  woman  who  knows 
a  secret  the  rest  of  the  world,  and 
man  particularly,  is  itching  to  hear. 
"  Oh,  I  daresay  he  has  some  one  in 
his  mind,"  she  admitted;  "and  I 
daresay  I  know  who  it  might  he 
too,  for  I  was  the  first  to  sweel  the 
baby  and  the  last  to  dress  its  mother 
— blessing  with  her  ! " 

M'lver  turned  round  and  looked 
her,  with  cunning  humour,  in  the 
face.  "  I  might  well  guess  that," 
he  said ;  "  you  have  the  best  name 
in  the  countryside  for  these  offices, 
that  many  a  fumbling  dame  botches. 
I  suppose,"  he  added,  when  the 
pleasure  in  her  face  showed  his 
words  had  found  her  vanity — "  I 
suppose  you  mean  the  bairn  up  in 
Carlunan?" 

"  That's  the  very  one,"  she  said 
with  a  start ;  "  but  who  told  you  1 " 

"Tuts!"  said  he,  slyly,  "the 
thing's  well  enough  known  about 
the  Castle,  and  MacLachlan  himself 
never  denied  he  was  the  father.  Do 
you  think  a  secret  like  that  could 
be  kept  in  a  clattering  parish  like 
Inneraora  1 " 

"  You're  the  first  I  ever  heard 
get  to  the  marrow  of  it,"  confessed 
the  Dame  Dubh.  "  MacLachlan 
himself  never  thought  I  was  in  the 
woman's  confidence,  and  I've  seen 
him  in  Carlunan  there  since  I  came 
home,  pretending  more  than  a 
cousin's  regard  for  the  Provost's 
daughter  so  that  he  might  share  in 
the  bairn's  fondling.  He  did  it  so 
well,  too,  that  the  lady  herself  would 
talk  of  its  fatherless  state  with  tears 
in  her  eyes." 

I  stood  by,  stunned  at  the  revela- 
tion that  brought  joy  from  the  very 
last  quarter  where  I  would  have 
sought  it.  But  I  must  not  let  my 


rapture  at  the  idea  of  MacLachlan's 
being  no  suitor  of  the  girl  go  too 
far  till  I  confirmed  this  new  intelli- 
gence. 

"Perhaps, "I  said  in  a  little  to 
the  woman,  "  the  two  of  them  fond- 
ling  the  bairn  were  chief  enough, 
though  they  did  not  share  the  secret 
of  its  fatherhood." 

"  Chief !  "  she  cried;  "the  girl  has 
no  more  notion  of  MacLachlan  than 
I  have,  if  an  old  woman's  eyes  that 
once  were  clear  enough  for  such 
things  still  show  me  anything.  I 
would  have  been  the  first  to  tell  her 
how  things  stood  if  I  had  seen  it 
otherwise.  No,  no  ;  Mistress  Brown 
has  an  eye  in  other  quarters.  What 
do  you  say  to  that,  Barbeck  1 "  she 
added,  laughing  slyly  to  my  friend. 

A  great  ease  came  upon  my  mind  ; 
it  was  lightened  of  a  load  that  had 
lain  on  it  since  ever  my  Tynree  spae- 
wife  found,  or  pretended  to  find,  in 
my  silvered  loof  such  an  unhappy 
portent  of  my  future.  And  then 
this  rapture  was  followed  by  a  glad- 
ness no  less  profound  that  MacLach- 
lan, bad  as  he  had  been,  was  not  the 
villain  quite  I  had  fancied ;  if  he  had 
bragged  of  conquests,  it  had  been 
with  truth  though  not  with  decency. 

Inneraora,  as  we  returned  to  it 
that  night,  was  a  town  enchanted ; 
again  its  lights  shone  warm  and 
happily.  I  lingered  late  in  its 
street,  white  in  the  light  of  the 
stars,  and  looked  upon  the  nine 
windows  of  Askaig's  house.  There 
was  no  light  in  all  the  place  ;  the 
lower  windows  of  the  tenements 
were  shuttered,  and  slumber  was 
within.  It  gave  me  an  agreeable 
exercise  to  guess  which  of  the  un- 
shuttered nine  would  let  in  the  first 
of  the  morning  light  on  a  pillow 
with  dark  hair  tossed  upon  it  and  a 
rounded  cheek  upon  a  hand  like 
milk. 


1898.] 


John  Splendid. — Conclusion. 


199 


CHAPTER   XXXIV. LOVE   IN   THE   WOODS. 


Young  Lachie  did  not  bide  long 
on  our  side  of  the  water :  a  day  or 
two  and  he  was  away  back  to  his 
people,  but  not  before  he  and  I,  in 
a  way,  patched  up  once  more  a 
friendship  that  had  never  been 
otherwise  than  distant,  and  was 
destined  so  to  remain  till  the  end, 
when  he  married  my  aunt  Nannie 
Euadh  of  the  Boshang  Gate,  whose 
money  we  had  been  led  to  look  for 
as  a  help  to  our  fallen  fortunes. 
She  might,  for  age,  have  been  his 
mother,  and  she  was  more  than  a 
mother  to  the  child  he  brought  to 
her  from  Carlunan  without  so 
much  as  by  your  leave,  the  day 
after  they  took  up  house  together. 
"  That's  my  son,"  said  he,  "  young 
Lachie."  She  looked  at  the  sturdy 
little  fellow  beating  with  a  knife 
upon  the  bark  of  an  ashen  sapling 
he  was  fashioning  into  a  whistle, 
and  there  was  no  denying  the 
resemblance.  The  accident  was 
common  enough  in  those  days. 
"  Who  is  the  mother  ? "  was  all  she 
said,  with  her  plump  hand  on  the 
little  fellow's  head.  "  She  was 
So-and-so,"  answered  her  husband, 
looking  into  the  fire ;  "  we  were 
very  young,  and  I've  paid  the  pen- 
alty by  my  rueing  it  ever  since." 

Nannie  Euadh  took  the  child  to 
her  heart  that  never  knew  the 
glamour  of  her  own,  and  he  grew 
up,  as  I  could  tell  in  a  more  inter- 
esting tale  than  this,  to  be  a  great 
and  good  soldier,  who  won  battles 
for  his  country.  So  it  will  be  seen 
that  the  Dame  Dubh's  story  to  us 
in  the  cot  by  Aora  had  not  tra- 
velled very  far  when  it  had  not  in 
six  years  reached  the  good  woman 
of  Boshang  Gate,  who  knew  every- 
body's affairs  between  the  two 
stones  of  the  parish.  M'lver  and 
I  shared  the  secret  with  MacLach- 
lan  and  the  nurse  of  his  dead  lover; 

VOL.  CLXIV. — NO.  DCCCCXCIV. 


it  went  no  farther,  and  it  was  all 
the  more  wonderful  that  John 
should  have  to  keep  his  thumb  on 
it,  considering  its  relevancy  to  a 
blunder  that  made  him  seem  a 
scoundrel  in  the  eyes  of  Mistress 
Betty.  Once  I  proposed  to  him 
that  through  her  father  she  might 
have  the  true  state  of  affairs  re- 
vealed to  her. 

"  Let  her  be,"  he  answered,  "let 
her  be.  She'll  learn  the  truth 
some  day,  no  doubt."  And  then, 
as  by  a  second  thought,  "  The  far- 
ther off  the  better,  perhaps,"  a  say- 
ing full  of  mystery. 

The  Dark  Dame,  as  I  say,  gave 
me  the  cure  for  a  sore  heart.  Her 
news,  so  cunningly  squeezed  from 
her  by  John  Splendid,  relieved  me 
at  once  of  the  dread  that  MacLach- 
lan,  by  his  opportunities  of  wooing, 
had  made  himself  secure  in  her 
affections,  and  that  those  rambles 
by  the  river  to  Carlunan  had  been 
by  the  tryst  of  lovers.  A  whole- 
some new  confidence  came  to  my 
aid  when  the  Provost,  aging  and 
declining  day  by  day  to  the  last 
stroke  that  came  so  soon  after, 
hinted  once  that  he  knew  no  one 
he  would  sooner  leave  the  fortunes 
of  his  daughter  with  than  with 
myself.  I  mooted  the  subject  to 
his  wife  too,  in  one  wild  valour  of 
a  sudden  meeting,  and  even  she, 
once  so  shy  of  the  topic,  seemed  to 
look  upon  my  suit  with  favour. 

"  I  could  not  have  a  goodson 
more  worthy  than  yourself,"  she 
was  kind  enough  to  say.  "  Once 
I  thought  Betty's  favour  was  else- 
where, in  an  airt  that  scarcely 
pleased  me,  and " 

"But  that's  all  over,"  I  said, 
warmly,  sure  she  thought  of  Mac- 
Lachlan. 

"  I  hope  it  is  ;  I  think  it  is,"  she 
said.     "  Once  I  had  sharp  eyes  on 
0 


200 


John  Splendid. — Conclusion. 


[Aug. 


my  daughter,  and  her  heart's  in- 
most throb  was  plain  to  me,  for 
you  see,  Colin,  I  have  been  young 
myself,  long  since,  and  I  remember. 
A  brave  heart  will  win  the  bravest 
girl,  and  you  have  every  wish  of 
mine  for  your  good  fortune." 

Then  I  played  every  art  of  the 
lover,  emboldened  the  more  since 
I  knew  she  had  no  tie  of  engage- 
ment. Remembering  her  father's 
words  in  the  harvest-field  of  Elrig- 
more,  I  wooed  her,  not  in  humility, 
but  in  the  confidence  that,  in  other 
quarters,  ere  she  ever  came  on  the 
scene,  had  given  me  liberty  on  the 
lips  of  any  girl  I  met  in  a  lane 
without  more  than  a  laughing  pro- 
test. Love,  as  I  learned  now,  was 
not  an  outcome  of  the  reason  but 
will's  mastership.  Day  by  day  I 
contrived  to  see  my  lady.  I  was 
cautious  to  be  neither  too  hot  nor 
too  cold,  and  never  but  at  my  best 
in  appearance  and  in  conversation. 
All  my  shyness  I  thrust  under  my 
feet :  there  is  one  way  to  a  woman's 
affections,  and  that  is  frankness  to 
the  uttermost.  I  thought  no  longer, 
ere  I  spoke,  if  this  sentiment  should 
make  me  ridiculous,  or  that  senti- 
ment too  readily  display  my  fond- 
ness, but  spoke  out  as  one  in  a 
mere  gallantry. 

At  first  she  was  half  alarmed  at 
the  new  mood  I  was  in,  shrinking 
from  this,  my  open  revelation,  and 
yet,  I  could  see,  not  unpleased  al- 
together that  she  should  be  the 
cause  of  a  change  so  much  to  my 
advantage.  I  began  to  find  a 
welcome  in  her  smile  and  voice 
when  I  called  on  the  household  of 
an  afternoon  or  evening,  on  one 
pretext  or  another,  myself  ashamed 
sometimes  at  the  very  flimsiness  of 
them.  She  would  be  knitting  by 
the  fire  perhaps,  and  it  pleased  me 
greatly  by  some  design  of  my  con- 
versation to  make  her  turn  at  once 
her  face  from  the  flames  whose 
rosiness  concealed  her  flushing,  and 


reveal  her  confusion  to  the  yellow 
candle-light.  Oh!  happy  days.  Oh! 
times  so  gracious,  the  spirit  and  the 
joy  they  held  are  sometimes  with 
me  still.  We  revived,  I  think,  the 
glow  of  that  meeting  on  the  stair 
when  I  came  home  from  Germanie, 
and  the  hours  passed  in  swallow 
flights  as  we  talked  of  summer 
days  gone  bye. 

At  last  we  had  even  got  the 
length  of  walking  together  in  an 
afternoon  or  evening  in  the  wood 
behind  the  town  that  has  been  the 
haunt  in  courting  days  of  genera- 
tions of  our  young  people ;  except 
for  a  little  melancholy  in  my  lady, 
these  were  perhaps  life's  happiest 
periods.  The  wind  might  be  sound- 
ing and  the  old  leaves  flying  in  the 
wood,  the  air  might  chill  and  nip, 
but  there  was  no  bitterness  for 
us  in  the  season's  chiding.  To- 
day, an  old  man,  with  the  follies 
of  youth  made  plain  and  contemp- 
tible, I  cannot  but  think  those  eves 
in  the  forest  had  something  pre- 
cious and  magic  for  memory.  There 
is  no  sorrow  in  them  but  that  they 
are  no  more,  and  that  the  world 
to  come  may  have  no  repetition. 
How  the  trees,  the  tall  companions, 
communed  together  in  their  heights 
among  the  stars  !  how  the  burns 
tinkled  in  the  grasses  and  the  how- 
lets  mourned  !  And  we,  together, 
walked  sedate  and  slowly  in  those 
evening  alleys,  surrounded  by  the 
scents  the  dews  bring  forth,  shone 
upon  by  silver  moon  and  stars. 

To-day,  in  my  eld,  it  amuses  me 
still  that  for  long  I  never  kissed 
her.  I  had  been  too  slow  of  mak- 
ing a  trial,  to  venture  it  now  with- 
out some  effort  of  spirit ;  and  time 
after  time  I  had  started  on  our 
stately  round  of  the  hunting-road 
with  a  resolution  wrought  up  all 
the  way  from  my  looking-glass  at 
Elrigmore,  that  this  should  be  the 
night,  if  any,  when  I  should  take 
the  liberty  that  surely  our  rambles, 


1898.] 


John  Splendid. — Conclusion. 


201 


though  actual  word  of  love  had 
not  been  spoken,  gave  me  a  title  to. 
A  title !  I  had  kissed  many  a 
"bigger  girl  before  in  a  caprice  at 
a  hedge-gate.  But  this  little  one, 
j  so  demurely  walking  by  my  side, 
with  never  so  much  as  an  arm  on 
mine,  her  pale  face  like  marble 
in  the  moonlight,  her  eyes,  when 
turned  on  mine,  like  dancing  points 
of  fire.  Oh !  the  task  defied  me ! 
The  task  I  say  —  it  was  a  duty, 
I'll  swear  now,  in  the  experience  of 
later  years. 

I  kissed  her  first  on  the  night 
before  M'lver  set  out  on  his  travels 
anew,  no  more  in  the  camp  of 
Argile  his  severed  chief,  but  as  a 
Cavalier  of  the  purchased  sword. 

It  was  a  night  of  exceeding  calm, 
with  the  moon,  that  I  had  seen  as 
a  corn-hook  over  my  warfare  with 
MacLachlan  in  Tara-dubh,  swollen 
to  the  full  and  gleaming  upon  the 
country  till  it  shone  as  in  the  dawn 
of  day.  We  walked  back  and 
forth  on  the  hunting-road  for  long, 
in  a  silence  broken  by  few  words. 
My  mind  was  in  a  storm.  I  felt 
that  I  was  losing  my  friend,  and 
that  by  itself  was  trouble ;  but  I 
felt,  likewise,  a  shame  that  the 
passion  of  love  at  my  bosom  robbed 
the  deprivation  of  much  of  its 
sorrow. 

"  I  shall  kiss  her  to-night  if  she 
spurns  me  for  ever,"  I  said  to  my- 
self over  and  over  again,  and  anon 
I  would  marvel  at  my  own  daring ; 
but  the  act  was  still  to  do.  It  was 
more  than  to  do — it  was  to  be  led 
up  to,  and  yet  my  lady  kept  every 
entrance  to  the  project  barred,  with 
a  cunning  that  yet  astounds  me. 

We  had  talked  of  many  things 
in  our  evening  rambles  in  that 
wood,  but  never  of  M'lver,  whose 
name  the  girl  shunned  mention  of 
for  a  cause  I  knew  but  could  never 
set  her  right  on.  This  night,  his 
last  in  our  midst,  I  ventured  on 
his  name.  She  said  nothing  for  a 


little,  and  for  a  moment  I  thought, 
"  Here's  a  dour,  little,  unforgiving 
heart ! "  Then,  softly,  said  she,  "  I 
wish  him  well  and  a  safe  return 
from  his  travelling.  I  wish  him 
better  than  his  deserts.  That  he 
goes  at  all  surprises  me.  I  thought 
it  but  John  Splendid's  promise — to 
be  acted  on  or  not  as  the  mood 
happened." 

"  Yes,"  I  said ;  "  he  goes  without 
a  doubt.  I  saw  him  to-day  kiss 
his  farewells  with  half-a-dozen  girls 
on  the  road  between  the  Maltland 
and  the  town." 

"  I  daresay,"  she  answered  ;  "  he 
never  lacked  boldness." 

My  chance  had  come. 

"  No,  indeed,  he  did  not,"  said  I ; 
"and  I  wish  I  had  some  of  it 
myself." 

"  What !  for  so  common  a  display 
of  it  ? "  she  asked  rallying,  yet  with 
some  sobriety  in  her  tone. 

"  Not  a  bit,"  I  answered;  "that — 
that — that  I  might  act  the  part  of 
a  lover  with  some  credit  to  myself, 
and  kiss  the  one  girl  I  know  in  that 
capacity." 

"  Would  she  let  you  ? "  she  asked, 
removing  herself  by  a  finger-length 
from  my  side,  yet  not  apparently 
enough  to  show  she  thought  herself 
the  one  in  question. 

"  That,  madame,  is  what  troubles 
me,"  I  confessed  in  anguish,  for  her 
words  had  burst  the  bubble  of  my 
courage. 

"  Of  course  you  cannot  tell  till  you 
try,"  she  said  demurely,  looking 
straight  before  her,  no  smile  on  the 
corners  of  her  lips,  that  somehow 
maddened  by  their  look  of  pliancy. 

"  You  know  whom  I  mean,"  I  said, 
pursuing  my  plea,  whose  rustic  sim- 
plicity let  no  man  mock  at,  remem- 
bering the  gawky  errors  of  his  own 
experience. 

"  There's  Bell,  the  minister's 
niece,  and  there's  Kilblaan's 
daughter,  and " 

"  Oh,    my   dear  !   my  dear ! "   I 


202 


John  Splendid. — Conclusion. 


[Aug. 


cried,  stopping  and  putting  my  hand 
daringly  on  her  shoulder.  "  You 
know  it  is  not  any  of  those ;  you 
must  know  I  mean  yourself.  Here 
am  I,  a  man  travelled,  no  longer  a 
youth,  though  still  with  the  flush  of 
it,  no  longer  with  a  humility  to 
let  me  doubt  myself  worthy  of  your 
best  thoughts  ;  I  have  let  slip  a  score 
of  chances  on  this  same  path,  and 
even  now  I  cannot  muster  up  the 
spirit  to  brave  your  possible  anger." 

She  laughed  a  very  pleasant  sooth- 
ing laugh  and  released  her  shoulder. 
"At  least  you  give  me  plenty  of 
warning,"  she  said. 

"  I  am  going  to  kiss  you  now,"  I 
said,  with  great  firmness. 

She  walked  a  little  faster,  panting 
as  I  could  hear,  and  I  blamed  myself 
that  I  had  alarmed  her. 

"  At  least,"  I  added,  "  I'll  do  it 
when  we  get  to  Bealloch-an-uarain 
well." 

She  hummed  a  snatch  of  Gaelic 
songwe  have  upon  that  notable  well, 
a  song  that  is  all  an  invitation  to 
drink  the  waters  while  you  are 
young  and  drink  you  may,  and  I 
suddenly  ventured  to  embrace  her 
with  an  arm.  She  drew  up  with 
stern  lips  and  back  from  my  em- 
brace, and  Elrigmore  was  again  in 
torment. 

"  You  are  to  blame  yourself,"  I 
said  huskily  ;  "you  let  me  think  I 
might.  And  now  I  see  you  are 
angry." 

"  Am  1 1 "  she  said,  smiling  again. 
"  I  think  you  said  the  well,  did  you 
not  1 " 

"  And  may  II"  eagerly  I  asked, 
devouring  her  with  my  eyes. 

"  You  may — at  the  well,"  she 
answered,  and  then  she  laughed 
softly. 

Again  my  spirits  bounded. 

"  But  I  was  not  thinking  of  go- 
ing there  to-night,"  she  added,  and 
the  howlet  in  the  bush  beside  me 
hooted  at  my  ignominy. 

I  walked  in  a  perspiration  of  vexa- 


tion and  alarm.  It  was  plain  that 
here  was  no  desire  for  my  caress, 
that  the  girl  was  but  probing  the 
depth  of  my  presumption,  and  I  gave 
up  all  thought  of  pushing  my  inten- 
tion to  performance.  Our  conver- 
sation turned  to  more  common 
channels,  and  I  had  hoped  my  com- 
panion had  lost  the  crude  impression 
of  my  wooing  as  we  passed  the  path 
that  led  from  the  hunting-road  to 
the  Bealloch-an-uarain. 

"  Oh  !  "  she  cried  here,  "  I  wished 
for  some  ivy  ;  I  thought  to  pluck  it 
farther  back,  and  your  nonsense 
made  me  quite  forget." 

"Cannot  we  return  for  it?"  I 
said,  well  enough  pleased  at  the 
chance  of  prolonging  our  walk. 

"  No ;  it  is  too  late,"  she  an- 
swered abruptly.  "  Is  there  no- 
where else  here  where  we  could  get 
it?" 

"  I  do  not  think  so,"  I  said, 
stupidly.  Then  I  remembered  that 
it  grew  in  the  richest  profusion  on 
the  face  of  the  grotto  we  call 
Bealloch-an-uarain.  "Except  at 
the  well,"  I  added. 

"  Of  course  it  is  so — now  I  re- 
member," said  she ;  "  there  is 
plenty  of  it  there.  Let  us  haste 
and  get  it."  And  she  led  the  way 
up  the  path,  I  following  with  a 
heart  that  surged  and  beat. 

When  our  countryside  is 
changed,  when  the  forest  of  Creag 
Dubh,  where  roam  the  deer,  is 
levelled  with  the  turf,  and  the  foot 
of  the  passenger  wears  round  the 
castle  of  Argile,  I  hope,  I  pray, 
that  grotto  on  the  brae  will  still 
lift  up  its  face  among  the  fern  and 
ivy.  Nowadays  when  the  mood 
comes  on  me,  and  I  must  be  the 
old  man  chafing  against  the  decay 
of  youth's  spirit,  and  the  recollec- 
tion overpowers  of  other  times  and 
other  faces  than  those  so  kent  and 
tolerant  about  me,  I  put  my  plaid 
on  my  shoulders  and  walk  to 
Bealloch-an-uarain  well.  My  chil- 


1898.] 


John  Splendid. — Conclusion. 


203 


dren's  children  must  be  with  me 
elsewhere  on  my  saunters ;  here 
I  must  walk  alone.  I  am  young 
again  when  looking  on  that  magic 
fountain,  still  the  same  as  when  its 
murmur  sounded  in  my  lover's 
ears.  Here  are  yet  the  stalwart 
trees,  the  tall  companions,  that 
nodded  on  our  shy  confessions; 
the  ivy  hangs  in  sheeny  spray  up- 
on the  wall.  Time,  that  ranges, 
has  here  no  freedom,  but  stands, 
shackled  by  links  of  love  and  me- 
mory to  the  rocks  we  sat  on.  I 
sit  now  there  and  muse,  and  be- 
side me  is  a  shadow  that  never 
ages,  with  a  pale  face  averted, 
looking  through  leafless  boughs  at 
the  glimpse  of  star  and  moon.  I 
see  the  bosom  heave ;  I  see  the 
eyes  flash  full,  then  soften  half- 
shut  on  some  inward  vision.  For 
I  am  never  there  at  Bealloch-an- 
uarain,  summer  or  spring,  but  the 
season,  in  my  thought,  is  that  of 
my  wife's  first  kiss,  and  it  is 
always  a  pleasant  evening  and  the 
birds  are  calling  in  the  dusk. 

I  plucked  my  lady's  ivy  with  a 
cruel  wrench,  as  one  would  pluck 
a  sweet  delusion  from  his  heart, 
and  her  fingers  were  so  warm  and 
soft  as  I  gave  her  the  leaves ! 
Then  I  turned  to  go. 

"It  is  time  we  were  home,"  I 
said,  anxious  now  to  be  alone  with 
my  vexation. 

"  In  a  moment,"  she  said,  pluck- 


ing more  ivy  for  herself;  and  then 
she  said,  "  Let  us  sit  a  little ;  I  am 
wearied." 

My  courage  came  anew.  "  Fool !" 
I  called  myself.  "  You  may  never 
have  the  chance  again."  I  sat 
down  by  her  side,  and  talked  no 
love  but  told  a  story. 

It  is  a  story  we  have  in  the 
sheilings  amoug  the  hills,  the  tale 
of  "  The  Sea  Fairy  of  French  Fore- 
land " ;  but  I  changed  it  as  I  went 
on,  and  made  the  lover  a  soldier.  I 
made  him  wander,  and  wandering 
think  of  home  and  a  girl  beside  the 
sea.  I  made  him  confront  wild 
enemies  and  battle  with  storms,  I 
set  him  tossing  upon  oceans  and 
standing  in  the  streets  of  leaguered 
towns,  or  at  grey  heartless  morn- 
ings upon  lonely  plains  with  soli- 
tude around,  and  yet,  in  all,  his 
heart  was  with  the  girl  beside  the 
sea. 

She  listened  and  flushed.  My 
hero's  dangers  lit  her  eyes  like 
lanthorns,  my  passions  seemed  to 
find  an  echo  in  her  sighs. 

Then  I  pitied  my  hero,  the  wan- 
dering soldier,  so  much  alone,  so 
eager,  and  unforgetting,  till  I  felt 
the  tears  in  my  eyes  as  I  imaged 
his  hopeless  longing. 

She  checked  her  sighs,  she  said 
my  name  in  the  softest  whisper, 
laid  her  head  upon  my  shoulder 
and  wept.  And  then  at  last  I  met 
her  quivering  lips. 


CHAPTER   XXXV. FAREWELL. 


On  the  morrow,  John  Splendid 
came  riding  up  the  street  on  his 
way  to  the  foreign  wars.  He  had 
attired  himself  most  sprucely;  he 
rode  a  good  horse,  and  he  gave  it 
every  chance  to  show  its  quality. 
Old  women  cried  to  him  from  their 
windows  and  close-mouths.  "  Oh  ! 
laochain,"  they  said,  "  yours  be  the 
luck  of  the  seventh  son  ! "  He 


answered  gaily,  with  the  harmless 
flatteries  that  came  so  readily  to 
his  lips  always,  they  seemed  the 
very  bosom's  revelation.  "  Oh  ! 
women  ! "  said  he,  "  I'll  be  think- 
ing of  your  handsome  sons,  and 
the  happy  days  we  spent  together, 
and  wishing  myself  soberly  home 
with  them  when  I  am  far  away." 
But  not  the  old  women  alone 


204 


John  Splendid. — Conclusion. 


[Aug. 


waited  on  his  going ;  shy  girls 
courtesied  or  applauded  at  the 
corners.  For  them  his  horse  cara- 
coled on  Stonefield's  causeway,  his 
shoulders  straightened,  and  his  bon- 
net rose.  "  There  you  are  ! "  said 
he,  "  still  the  temptation  and  the 
despair  of  a  decent  bachelor's  life. 
I'll  marry  every  one  of  you  that 
have  not  a  man  when  I  come  home." 

"And  when  may  that  be1?" 
cried  a  little,  bold,  fair  one,  with  a 
laughing  look  at  him  from  under 
the  blowing  locks  that  escaped  the 
snood  on  her  hair. 

"  When  may  it  be  1 "  he  repeated. 
"  Say  '  Come  home,  Barbreck,'  in 
every  one  of  your  evening  prayers, 
and  heaven,  for  the  sake  of  so  sweet 
a  face,  may  send  me  home  the 
sooner  with  my  fortune." 

Master  Gordon,  passing,  heard 
the  speech.  "  Do  your  own  pray- 
ing, Barbreck " 

"  John,"  said  my  hero.  "John, 
this  time,  to  you." 

"John  be  it,"  said  the  cleric, 
smiling  warmly.  "I  like  you, 
truly,  and  I  wish  you  well." 

M'lver  stooped  and  took  the  prof- 
fered hand.  "  Master  Gordon,"  he 
said,  "  I  would  sooner  be  liked  and 
loved  than  only  admired ;  that's, 
perhaps,  the  secret  of  my  life." 

It  was  not  the  fishing  season, 
but  the  street  thronged  with  fishers 
from  Kenmore  and  Cairndhu  and 
Kilcatrine  and  the  bays  of  lower 
Cowal.  Their  tall  figures  jostled 
in  the  causeway,  their  white  teeth 
gleamed  in  their  friendliness,  and 
they  met  this  companion  of 
numerous  days  and  nights,  this 
gentleman  of  good -humour  and 
even  temper,  with  cries  as  in  a 
schoolboy's  playground.  They 
clustered  round  the  horse  and  seized 
upon  the  trappings.  Then  John 
Splendid's  play-acting  came  to  its 
conclusion,  as  it  was  ever  bound  to 
do  when  his  innermost  man  was 
touched.  He  forgot  the  carriage  of 


his  shoulders ;  indifferent  to  the 
disposition  of  his  reins,  he  reached 
and  wrung  a  hundred  hands,  crying 
back  memory  for  memory,  jest  for 
jest,  and  always  the  hope  for  future 
meetings. 

"  0  scamps  !  scamps  !  "  said  he, 
"  fishing  the  silly  prey  of  ditches 
when  you  might  be  with  me  upon 
the  ocean  and  capturing  the  towns. 
I'll  never  drink  a  glass  of  Ehenish, 
but  I'll  mind  of  you  and  sorrow  for 
your  sour  ales  and  bitter  aqua  !  " 

"Will  it  be  long?"  said  they— 
true  Gaels,  ever  anxious  to  know 
the  lease  of  pleasure  or  of  grief. 

"Long  or  short,"  said  he,  with 
absent  hands  in  his  horse's  mane, 
"  will  lie  with  Eate,  and  she,  my 
lads,  is  a  dour  jade  with  a  secret. 
It'll  be  long  if  ye  mind  of  me,  and 
unco  short  if  ye  forget  me  till  I 
return." 

I  went  up  and  said  farewell. 
I  but  shook  his  hand,  and  my 
words  were  few  and  simple.  That 
took  him,  for  he  was  always  quick 
to  sound  the  depth  of  silent  feeling. 

"  Mo  thruadh !  mo  thruadh ! 
Colin,"  said  he.  "  My  grief  !  my 
grief !  here  are  two  brothers  closer 
than  by  kin,  and  they  have  reached 
a  gusset  of  life,  and  there  must  be 
separation.  I  have  had  many  a 
jolt  from  my  fairy  relatives,  but 
they  have  never  been  more  wicked 
than  now.  I  wish  you  were  with 
me,  and  yet,  ah  !  yet.  Would  her 
ladyship,  think  ye,  forget  for  a 
minute,  and  shake  an  old  friend's 
hand,  and  say  good-bye?" 

I  turned  to  Betty,  who  stood  a 
little  back  with  her  father,  and 
conveyed  his  wish.  She  came  for- 
ward, dyed  crimson  to  the  neck,  and 
stood  by  his  horse's  side.  He  slid 
off  the  saddle  and  shook  her  hand. 

"  It  is  very  good  of  you,"  said 
he.  "You  have  my  heart's  good 
wishes  to  the  innermost  chamber." 

Then  he  turned  to  me,  and  while 
the  fishermen  stood  back,  he  said, 


1898.] 


John  Splendid. — Conclusion. 


205 


"  I  envied  you  twice,  Colin — once 
when  you  had  the  foresight  of  your 
fortune  on  the  side  of  Loch  Lhinne, 
and  now  that  it  seems  begun." 

He  took  the  saddle,  waved  his 
bonnet  in  farewell  to  all  the  com- 
pany, then  rode  quickly  up  the 
street  and  round  the  castle  walls. 

It  was  a  day  for  the  open  road, 
and,  as  we  say,  for  putting  the 
seven  glens  and  the  seven  bens  and 
the  seven  mountain  moors  below  a 
young  man's  feet, — a  day  with  in- 
vitation in  the  air  and  the  promise 
of  gifts  around.  The  mallards  at 
morning  had  quacked  in  the  Dhu- 
loch  pools,  the  otter  scoured  the 
burn  of  Maam,  the  air-goat  bleated 
as  he  flew  among  the  reeds,  and  the 
stag  paused  above  his  shed  antlers 
on  Torvil-side  to  hide  them  in  the 
dead  bracken. 

M'lver  rode  beside  flowering 
saugh  and  alder  tree  through  those 
old  arches,  now  no  more,  those 
arches  that  were  the  outermost 
posterns  where  good-luck  allowed 
farewells.  He  dare  not  once  look 
round,  and  his  closest  friends  dare 
not  follow  him,  as  he  rode  alone  the 
old  road  so  many  of  our  people  have 
gone  to  their  country's  wars  or  to 
sporran  battles. 

A  silence  fell  upon  the  commu- 
nity, and  in  upon  it  broke  from 
the  river-side  the  wail  of  a  bagpipe 
played  by  the  piper  of  Argile.  It 
played  a  tune  familiar  in  those  parts 
upon  occasions  of  parting  and  en- 
couragement, a  tune  they  call  "Come 
back  to  the  Glen." 

"Come  back  to  the  glen,  to  the  glen, 

to  the  glen, 
And  there  shall  the  welcome  be  waiting 

for  you. 
The  deer  and  the  heath-cock,  the  curd 

from  the  pen, 
The  blaeberry  fresh  from  the  dew  ! " 

We  saw  the  piper  strut  upon  the 


gravelled  walk  beside  the  bridge- 
gate,  we  saw  Argile  himself  come 
out  to  meet  the  traveller. 

"  MacCailein  !  MacCailein  !  Ah 
the  dear  heart ! "  cried  all  our 
people,  touched  by  this  rare  and 
genteel  courtesy. 

The  Marquis  and  his  clansman 
touched  hands,  lingered  together  a 
little,  and  the  rider  passed  on  his 
way  with  the  piper's  invitation 
the  last  sound  in  his  ears.  He  rode 
past  Ivilmalieu  of  the  tombs,  with 
his  bonnet  off  for  all  the  dead  that 
are  so  numerous  there,  so  patient, 
waiting  for  the  final  trump.  He 
rode  past  Boshang  Gate,  portal  to 
my  native  glen  of  chanting  birds 
and  melodious  waters  and  merry 
people.  He  rode  past  Gearron 
hamlet,  where  the  folk  waved  fare- 
wells ;  then  over  the  river  before 
him  was  the  bend  that  is  ever  the 
beginning  of  home-sickness  for  all 
that  go  abroad  for  fortune. 

I  turned  to  the  girl  beside  me, 
and  "Sweetheart,"  said  I  softly, 
"  there's  an  elder  brother  lost.  It 
is  man's  greed,  I  know  ;  but  rich 
though  I  am  in  this  new  heart  of 
yours,  I  must  be  grudging  the 
comrade  gone." 

"  Gone  !  "  said  she,  with  scarcely 
a  glance  after  the  departing  figure. 
"  Better  gone  than  here  a  perpetual 
sinner,  deaf  to  the  cry  of  justice  and 
of  nature." 

"  Good  God  !  "  I  cried,  "  are  you 
still  in  that  delusion  ? "  and  I  hinted 
at  the  truth. 

She  saw  the  story  at  a  flash ;  she 
paled  to  the  very  lips,  and  turned 
and  strained  her  vision  after  that 
figure  slowly  passing  round  tbe 
woody  point ;  she  relinquished  no 
moment  of  her  gaze  till  the  path 
bent  and  hid  John  Splendid  from 
her  eager  view. 

MUNKO. 


206 


An  Indian  Sensation. 


[Aug. 


AN    INDIAN    SENSATION. 


ABOUT  half-way  between  Nagpur 
and  Jubbulpore — off  the  main  lines 
of  railway,  and  so  rather  out  of 
the  world — away  to  the  west  of 
the  old  great  Deccan  road,  for- 
merly one  of  the  chief  arteries  of 
communication  between  Northern 
and  Southern  India,  is  the  estate 
of  Adigaon,  nestling  among  the 
spurs  of  the  Sathpura  mountains, 
almost  surrounded  with  forests 
with  an  evil  reputation  both  for 
men  and  beasts,  through  which 
there  are  no  made  roads,  only 
footpaths  far  from  easy  to  find, 
and  cut  up  with  ravines  and 
mountain-streams,  stony  and  dry 
in  the  hot  season,  boiling  torrents 
in  the  rains. 

This  estate  about  the  end  of  last 
century  was  conferred  by  the 
Bhonsla  rajas  of  Nagpur  on  the 
mahant  or  high -priest  of  a  sect 
of  Bharti  Gosains,  partly  as  an 
endowment  of  certain  temples,  and 
partly  as  payment  for  services 
rendered.  When  the  gift  was 
made  these  Bhonsla  rajas  were 
only  nominally  the  rulers  of  the 
wild  Sathpura  districts ;  practi- 
cally their  administration  was  in 
the  hands  of  Gond  chiefs,  or  other 
strong  armed  adventurers,  who 
were  glad  to  obtain  the  protection 
of  the  Nagpur  rajas  when  attacked 
by  others  stronger  than  them- 
selves, but  at  other  times  seldom 
acknowledged  allegiance  to  any 
one.  The  Bharti  Gosains  were  no 
exception  to  this  rule  :  they  were 
a  sect  of  religious  mendicants 
sworn  to  celibacy  and  complete 
isolation  from  the  female  sex ; 
but  for  years  their  vows  have 
been  more  honoured  in  the  breach 
than  the  observance,  and  when  I 
first  visited  the  village  there  were 
as  many  women  as  men.  The  in- 


stitution of  marriage  not  being 
recognised,  the  children  had  no  , 
legal  standing,  so  they  ran  wild  or 
were  brought  up  as  hangers-on  of 
the  temple  and  servants  of  the 
priests.  The  succession  to  the 
estate  and  its  mahantship  was 
provided  for  by  the  right  of 
adoption.  Each  mahant,  with  the 
consent  of  the  elders  of  the  sect, 
could  appoint  one  or  more  disciples, 
selected  from  some  Brahman 
family,  their  number  being  limited 
by  convenience  or  economy.  The 
senior  stood  in  the  position  of  an 
eldest  son  in  respect  of  the  whole 
estate,  and  could  only  be  deprived 
of  his  rights  by  force  or  his  own 
bad  conduct :  such  others  as  were 
living  when  the  succession  fell  in 
were  only  entitled  to  maintenance. 
Once  adopted,  they  could  never 
return  to  their  own  families,  but 
had  to  cling  till  death  to  the 
sect,  of  which,  however,  they  might 
become  very  degraded  members  if 
caught  straying  from  the  path  of 
virtue.  Formerly  the  elders  are 
said  to  have  watched  the  lives  and 
morals  of  these  chelas  carefully, 
and,  as  a  rule,  did  substantial 
justice  among  them,  so  managing 
that  the  right  man  generally  suc- 
ceeded. Only  occasionally  there 
would  be  a  notable  exception,  when 
might  proved  stronger  than  right. 
For  many  years  the  mahant  was 
de  factoring-  he  collected  and  spent 
the  revenues,  he  maintained  his  own 
police,  and  he  levied  transit  duties 
from  all  bond  fide  traders  carrying 
goods  through  his  estate,  and  black- 
mail from  all  illegitimate  wanderers 
who  made  it  an  asylum.  He  ab- 
sorbed the  usufruct  of  the  forests 
and  rivers,  and  he  paid  Govern- 
ment nothing.  He  usurped  the 
powers  of  life  and  death,  and  the 


1898.] 

right  to  exercise  judicial  functions. 
He  decided  every  dispute  concern- 
ing money  or  land,  making  each 
party  pay  heavily  for  his  decision. 

The  country  was  an  Alsatia 
from  situation,  with  every  nat- 
ural facility  for  concealment  aided 
by  a  corrupt  administration  and  a 
venal  police.  In  the  heart  of  the 
forests,  the  village  of  Adigaon  was 
perched  on  rising  ground  just 
above  a  small  stream  from  which 
the  people  obtained  their  water. 
The  only  buildings  of  any  preten- 
sions were  the  temple  with  the 
usual  domed  roof  so  familiar  in  an 
Indian  landscape,  and  the  priest's 
house,  conspicuous  among  its 
thatched-hut  surroundings  by  its 
two  storeys  of  burnt  bricks  and 
its  tiled  roof ;  its  outer  and  inner 
courts  full  of  curious  little  dark 
rooms  and  narrow  rambling  pas- 
sages, low  cramped  doors,  and  win- 
dows made  for  every  purpose  except 
ventilation.  Up-stairs  was  a  small, 
dark  strong-room  with  a  massive 
but  ill-fitting  door,  closed  with  a 
rusty  chain  and  padlock.  In  this 
money,  jewels,  and  the  records  of 
the  estate  were  kept.  On  the 
ground-floor  was  the  dungeon,  dark 
and  noisome,  with  no  outlet  but 
the  door  made  of  strong  beams 
clamped  with  iron,  and  studded 
both  inside  and  out  with  iron 
spikes.  If  the  walls  of  this  room 
could  speak,  and  only  one-tenth  of 
the  stories  told  about  it  were  true, 
they  would  unfold  a  startling 
record  of  crime,  and  give  a  curi- 
ous picture  of  life  in  one  of  our 
wild  Indian  districts.  Near  the 
dungeon  was  the  charnel-house, 
where  numerous  remains  showed 
that  many  victims  had  been  dis- 
posed of. 

The  jemadar — the  head  of  the 
Adigaon  police  —  was  dreaded 
throughout  the  estate,  and  both 
he  and  his  subordinate  the  havil- 
dar  were  only  named  with  bated 


An  Indian  Sensation. 


207 


breath.  The  former  was  of  Mah- 
ratta  descent,  though  he  called 
himself  a  Rajput.  Tall,  over  six 
feet  high,  and  very  powerful,  he 
had  a  cold  keen  eye,  a  hard  cruel 
mouth,  with  a  wiry  moustache 
partly  hiding  his  thin  lips,  and  an 
expression  of  face  that  made  you 
feel  as  if  you  would  rather  trust  a 
tiger  in  his  own  jungle  than  the 
jemadar.  The  havildar  was  also 
of  large  and  powerful  physique, 
but  heavy  and  stupid-looking,  the 
sort  of  man  who  would  carry  out 
any  cruel  deed  of  violence  without 
asking  the  reason  why.  The  un- 
fortunate refugee  who  fell  into  the 
hands  of  these  men  was  not  to  be 
envied — unless  he  had  property, 
stolen  or  otherwise.  With  money, 
or  friends  willing  to  bribe  the 
police,  he  was  safe  from  the  Brit- 
ish officials,  and  might  rest  in  the 
estate  as  long  as  he  pleased. 

When  pursuit  was  very  active, 
offenders  would  stay  for  days  in 
the  jungles,  living  on  berries,  roots, 
and  what  they  could  pick  up.  I 
have  more  than  once,  when  out 
tiger  -  shooting,  watched  one  of 
these  men  slipping  away,  more  like 
a  wild  animal  than  a  human  being, 
at  the  first  sound  of  the  beaters. 
It  was  easy  to  trace  a  criminal 
through  English  territory  to  the 
borders  of  Adigaon,  but  there 
the  track  was  hopelessly  lost,  un- 
less the  man  was  poor.  Then  his 
course  was  soon  run, — he  was 
hunted  down,  and  made  over  with 
considerable  flourish  to  his  pur- 
suers. It  occasionally  happened 
that  a  runaway  was  ill-advised 
enough  to  dispute  the  demand  of 
the  Adigaon  police  for  money  :  he 
was  at  once  arrested  and  carried 
before  the  mahant,  who  would 
order  that  he  and  his  effects 
should  be  made  over  to  the  Brit- 
ish authorities.  Unless  he  bought 
off  his  guards  en  route,  or  had  not 
enough  property  to  excite  their 


208 


An  Indian  Sensation. 


[Aug. 


cupidity,  his  shrift  was  short :  he 
was  murdered  in  the  first  conven- 
ient spot,  the  police  taking  every- 
thing he  died  possessed  of.  They 
then  reported  to  the  English  police 
that  when  escorting  a  prisoner  for 
extradition  a  tiger  sprang  on  him 
while  he  was  drinking  water  and 
carried  him  off;  at  the  risk  of 
their  lives  they  saved  a  few  of  the 
things  he  carried,  which  they 
would  hand  over,  with  his  turban 
and  cloth  all  torn  and  bloody,  but 
they  could  not  save  the  man's 
body,  as  the  tiger  turned  on  them. 
Who  could  contradict  their  story  1 
The  police  were  as  one  man ;  the 
jemadar  and  havildar  always 
selected  their  own  tools,  and  a 
rare  collection  of  scoundrels  they 
were.  No  relation  of  the  dead 
man  was  sufficiently  interested  to 
insist  on  an  inquiry.  If  there 
had  been,  he  would  have  worked 
at  the  risk  of  his  life,  for,  given 
the  opportunity,  he  would  soon 
have  followed  his  friend.  Besides, 
in  all  probability  the  deceased 
would  not  have  been  missed  by 
his  friends  for  a  year  or  so,  be- 
cause it  is  a  common  thing  for  a 
criminal  "  wanted  "  by  the  police 
to  wander  away  sometimes  more 
than  one  hundred  miles  in  search 
of  a  new  field.  To  attempt  to 
trace  him  after  that  time  is  hope- 
less. 

For  many  years  this  Bharti  sect 
had  been  much  exercised  by  inter- 
nal dissensions.  There  had  been  a 
long  struggle  for  possession  be- 
tween two  chelas,  Dhokal  and 
Nerbada  Bharti,  which  ended  in 
the  latter  being  given  the  mahant- 
ship  and  its  contingent  possessions. 
Dhokal  Bharti  was  the  elder,  a 
man  of  some  family  and  strong 
will ;  but  he  had  been  made  an  out- 
cast for  various  acts  of  violence  and 
licentiousness.  He,  however,  never 
ceased  to  intrigue,  though  with- 
out success,  while  Nerbada  Bharti 


lived.  Their  quarrels  were  taken 
up  by  their  relatives.  Although 
a  Brahman  absolves  his  son  of  all 
duties  of  kinship  when  he  gives  him 
to  be  adopted  into  a  religious  sect, 
still  naturally  some  feeling  of  4 
affection  remains.  The  tenants  of 
the  estate  were  divided  into  fac- 
tions. Disturbances  were  fre- 
quent ;  faction  fights,  robberies,  and 
murders  were  numerous ;  so  that 
finally  Adigaon  stank  in  the  nos- 
trils of  the  authorities.  Not  only 
was  its  administration  rotten  to  the 
core,  but  a  spirit  of  lawlessness  and 
a  feeling  of  insecurity  were  mak- 
ing themselves  felt  in  the  English 
villages  across  the  border.  Any 
one  who  committed  a  dacoity  or 
murder  within  a  radius  of  eighty 
or  one  hundred  miles  at  once  made 
for  Adigaon,  and  thence  preyed 
with  impunity  on  his  weaker 
neighbours. 

During  this  struggle  for  the 
succession,  various  questions  arose 
which  necessitated  careful  inquiry 
into  the  validity  of  the  tenure  of 
the  mahant.  Their  title-deeds 
proved  that  the  Bhonsla  rajas  had 
given  the  estate  revenue  free  for 
two  generations  only.  Three  had 
passed  away,  and  the  Bhartis  still 
claimed  to  hold  on  the  same 
terms.  They  also  clung  to  their 
right  to  maintain  their  own  police, 
although,  as  a  matter  of  fact,  they 
never  had  any  such  right,  and  when 
the  time  came  for  the  grant  to  be 
resumed,  instructions  were  sent  to 
the  mahant  to  disband  his  police. 
These  orders  were  not  obeyed, 
for  just  then  the  Mutiny  came 
upon  the  country  like  a  whirl- 
wind ;  office  records  were  lost  or 
plundered,  and  the  country  re- 
mained disturbed  and  unsettled 
until  1860.  In  that  year  Tantia 
Topi,  who  had  roamed  over  nearly 
the  whole  of  Central  India  from 
Gwalior  to  Haiderabad  in  the 
Deccan  with  a  large  force,  was 


An  Indian  Sensation. 


1898.] 

killed  and  his  men  finally  dispersed. 
Lawlessness  in  the  wilder  tracts 
still  continued  for  a  year  or  two. 
Adigaon  had  a  new  lease  of  life. 
The  Bhartis  flatly  denied  that 
Government  had  ever  issued  any 
orders  limiting  their  powers  of 
administration,  or  swore  that,  if 
issued,  such  orders  had  never  been 
received  by  them  ;  and  they  pointed 
out  that  in  1857  the  English 
authorities  had  called  upon  the 
mahant  to  preserve  order  in 
Adigaon  with  its  own  police. 
This  was  the  only  order  forth- 
coming ;  and  after  the  terrible  dis- 
orders of  1857  it  was  impossible  to 
say  positively  whether  the  order  to 
disband  the  police  had  ever  reached 
its  destination. 

With  the  death  of  Nerbada 
Bharti  came  Dhokal  Bharti's  op- 
portunity. He  was  away  in 
Jubbulpore  :  had  he  been  on  the 
spot,  it  is  hardly  likely  that  my 
story  would  have  been  written, 
for  he  was  not  the  man  to  hesi- 
tate to  remove  any  opponent  with- 
in his  reach.  As  it  was,  he  at 
once  claimed  the  succession,  seized 
whatever  property  he  could  lay 
hands  on,  and  demanded  recogni- 
tion by  the  British  authorities. 

At  Adigaon,  Ram  Bharti,  the 
duly  elected  ch<*la  of  Nerbada 
Bharti,  had  watched  the  dying 
hours  of  his  master,  closed  his 
eyes,  and  performed  those  funeral 
rites  and  ceremonies  on  which 
Hindu  ritual  lays  so  much  stress 
in  all  cases  of  disputed  succession. 
These  completed,  he  sealed  up  all 
available  papers  and  the  treasury 
of  the  temple ;  then  hearing  that 
Dhokal  Bharti  was  near  at  hand, 
he  fled  for  his  life  to  the  nearest 
British  police  post  and  claimed 
protection  for  himself  and  the 
money  and  jewels  of  the  estate, 
which  he  estimated  at  between 
60,000  and  70,000  rupees  in  value. 
No  time  was  lost  by  the  police  in 


209 


sending  a  responsible  official  to 
take  charge  of  this  property  ;  but 
he  did  not  arrive  until  after  Dhokal 
Bharti,  and  by  that  time  the 
treasure  had  vanished,  no  one 
could  say  how.  Dhokal  Bharti 
laughed  at  the  idea  of  its  ever 
having  had  any  existence  save  in 
the  heated  brain  of  the  young  and 
timid  Ram  Bharti.  Only  one 
thing  was  certain, — Dhokal  Bharti, 
from  being  an  impoverished  pauper, 
suddenly  became  well-to-do.  Many 
were  the  stories  told.  Of  course 
the  police  were  accused  of  going 
shares.  In  those  days  no  case 
would  have  been  complete  without 
a  charge  of  this  sort.  The  officials 
of  the  district  court  also  came  in 
for  a  share  of  obloquy  ;  but  nothing 
was  proved,  and  the  money  was 
never  traced  or  recovered. 

Dhokal  Bharti  followed  his  rival 
into  Seoni,  hoping  to  crush  all 
opposition  by  his  own  personal 
influence,  which  had  gained  him 
some  powerful  friends.  Through 
their  assistance  he  was  placed  in 
possession  of  the  estate,  and  this 
gave  him  the  opportunity  of  com- 
pleting the  clearing  out  of  the 
treasure-chests.  He  also  collected 
from  the  tenants  a  year's  rent  in 
advance,  a  step  that  made  him 
very  unpopular. 

Ram  Bharti  then  brought  matters 
to  a  crisis  by  instituting  a  civil  suit 
for  possession  of  Adigaon  and  its 
treasures,  valued  at  two  lakhs  of 
rupees,  or  £20,000.  The  trial  was 
a  long  one.  The  scene  when  the 
two  parties  first  appeared  face  to 
face  was  very  interesting.  The 
contrast  in  the  physique  of  plaintiff 
and  defendant  was  most  striking  : 
the  latter  was  a  fine  stalwart 
old  man  of  between  seventy  and 
seventy-five  years  of  age,  nearly 
six  feet  high,  a  perfectly  white 
moustache,  aquiline  features,  with 
a  piercing  eye,  and  much  more  the 
bearing  of  an  old  Rajput  soldier 


210 


An  Indian  Sensation. 


[Aug. 


than  a  Brahman  priest.  He  treated 
his  rival  with  supreme  contempt, 
and  Ram  Bharti  looked  altogether 
unfit  to  cope  with  his  formidable 
antagonist.  He  was  an  ordinary- 
looking  Hindu  of  some  twenty- 
eight  years  of  age,  about  five  feet 
high,  and  with  a  weak  vacillating 
expression.  Days  and  weeks  were 
occupied  in  wading  through  masses 
of  papers,  miscalled  evidence,  filed 
by  both  sides  with  no  regard  to 
their  relevancy.  High  dignitaries 
of  the  sect,  most  learned  pro- 
fessors of  the  Gosain  schools 
from  Benares,  Nagpur,  and  even 
Haiderabad  in  the  Deccan,  were 
either  summoned  by  the  parties 
or  volunteered  their  opinions  in 
this  sensation  case.  Many  of 
these  had  never  appeared  in  an 
English  court,  and  before  trusting 
their  sacred  persons  within  its 
precincts  they  stipulated  that 
they  should  be  received  with  all 
due  honour,  should  be  allowed 
seats,  and  should  carry  the  in- 
signia of  their  exalted  positions. 
Most  of  these  men  were  of  a 
class  the  English  official  is  seldom 
brought  into  contact  with,  and  it 
was  impossible  not  to  be  favour- 
ably impressed  with  the  in- 
telligence and  impartiality  they 
brought  to  bear  on  points  re- 
ferred to  them.  They  were  all 
closely  shaven,  and  each  had  a 
broad  streak  of  ashes  across  the 
forehead.  They  wore  loose  saf- 
fron-coloured robes,  thrown  about 
them  in  d6gag6  style.  High-caste 
Brahmans  attended,  carrying  pea- 
cock-feather maces,  or  large  silver 
sticks,  best  known  as  chobs,  or  the 
large  yak's  tail,  chowris,  usually 
the  accompaniment  of  Indian 
royalty,  but  conferred  on  these 
high  dignitaries  of  the  priesthood 
by  some  of  the  princes  of  India. 

There  were  several  surprises  as 
the  case  went  on.  Documents 
were  produced  from  the  boxes 


which  had  been  sealed  up  by  the 
police  after  the  death  of  Nerbada 
Bharti,  the  very  existence  of 
which  had  been  strenuously  denied 
for  years.  There  were  the  orders 
of  Government  of  1856  directing 
the  disbandment  of  the  police,  and 
restricting  the  authority  of  the 
mahant ;  and  there  were  the  orig- 
inal deeds  of  the  Bhonsla  rajas 
granting  the  estate  for  only  two 
generations,  already  referred  to, 
with  various  others.  Eventually 
plaintiff  obtained  a  decree  for 
such  property  as  was  proved  to 
have  been  seized  by  Dhokal 
Bharti,  and  for  the  proprietary 
right  of  the  Adigaon  estate,  sub- 
ject to  the  payment  of  revenue  to 
Government.  The  revenue  free 
grant  lapsed  to  the  State.  This 
decision  satisfied  neither  side ;  both 
appealed  to  the  highest  courts 
in  the  province  without  success. 
Much  opprobrium  fell  to  the  lot 
of  Earn  Bharti  for  being  the  cause 
of  this  injury  to  the  Gosain  sect. 
Had  he  not  forced  the  suit  into 
the  civil  court,  the  facts  that  had 
come  to  light  during  the  trial 
might  have  remained  in  obscurity 
for  another  term  of  years.  In  vain 
he  blamed  his  rival,  whose  vio- 
lence and  injustice  had  driven  him 
into  court.  Feeling  ran  very 
high,  and  wherever  the  ramifica- 
tions of  the  sect  extended,  all  the 
brotherhood  looked  askance  on 
Ram  Bharti ;  and  his  timidity  ill 
fitted  him  to  cope  with  the  storm 
that  had  been  raised. 

Meantime  the  court  enforced 
execution  of  its  decree,  and  re- 
covered enough,  and  more  than 
enough,  money  to  meet  the  modest 
requirements  of  Ram  Bharti,  but 
not  sufficient  to  enable  him  to 
buy  the  goodwill  of  the  old  ser- 
vants of  the  estate.  They  to  a 
man  were  on  the  side  of  his  oppo- 
nent. Ram  Bharti  was  given 
possession  of  the  houses ;  but  no 


1898.] 

sooner  had  he  taken  up  his  abode 
at  Adigaon  than  he  was  warned 
by  one  of  his  few  faithful  fol- 
lowers that  his  life  was  not  worth 
a  day's  purchase  if  he  lived  out  of 
reach  of  the  British  police.  He 
then  fled  to  Seoni,  to  the  house  of 
one  Nerbada  Gir,  a  Gosain  like 
himself,  whom  he  believed  to  be 
his  staunch  friend.  This  was  in 
July.  One  morning  in  September 
he  disappeared.  Nerbada  Gir  re- 
ported the  absence  of  his  guest  to 
the  police,  telling  them  that  Bam 
Bharti  had  lately  decided  to  go 
back  to  Adigaon  and  see  what  his 
own  personal  influence  could  do. 
He  had  ordered  his  elephant  to  a 
village  about  a  mile  from  Seoni, 
and  arranged  to  start  from  there 
early  in  the  morning.  Why  he 
should  have  insisted  on  secrecy 
Nerbada  Gir  could  not  explain. 
Inquiry  soon  showed  that  the 
elephant  had  come  to  the  village 
named,  and  had  brought  the 
notorious  jemadar  and  havildar. 
They  said  that  they  had  come  to 
act  as  escort  to  their  chief  on  his 
proposed  journey  back  to  the  estate. 
When  they  arrived  they  paid  their 
respects  to  him,  and  claimed  Ner- 
bada Gir's  hospitality  for  the  one 
night  they  were  to  remain  in  Seoni. 
Both  these  two  men,  the  mahout 
of  the  elephant,  a  barber,  the 
personal  attendant  of  the  missing 
man,  and  Nerbada  Gir  all  ad- 
mitted that  they  were  in  the 
house  the  night  Ram  Bharti  dis- 
appeared. Messengers  sent  to 
Adigaon  soon  reported  that  neither 
Ram  Bharti  nor  the  elephant  had 
arrived  ;  but  the  latter  was  found 
in  a  village  half-way  between  there 
and  Seoni,  about  thirty  miles  from 
each  place.  The  mahout  said  that 
on  the  day  of  Ram  Bharti's  dis- 
appearance one  of  the  policemen 
came  and  told  him  to  take  the 
elephant  to  where  it  was  found, 
and  wait  there  till  joined  by  Ram 


An  Indian  Sensation. 


211 


Bharti.  This  order  he  obeyed, 
and  was  wondering  why  the  jour- 
ney had  been  delayed. 

All  this  took  time  to  discover, 
for  the  rainy  season  was  at  its 
height,  and  travelling  was  slow. 
Meanwhile  excitement  in  Seoni 
ran  high  and  rumour  was  rife ;  it 
soon  took  the  shape  of  a  report 
that  Ram  Bharti  had  committed 
suicide.  On  this  rumour  being 
traced  to  Nerbada  Gir,  he  said 
that  he  suggested  suicide,  because 
for  some  time  past  the  missing 
man  had  been  low-spirited  and 
despondent — he  had  shown  a  low 
morbid  tone,  and  a  dread  of  the 
consequences  of  his  action  in  the 
civil  suit :  there  were  no  other 
grounds  for  the  assumption  of 
suicide. 

Seoni  was  fortunate  in  its  police- 
officer  at  that  time.  He  was  a 
Sikh,  thoroughly  conversant  with 
the  people  and  their  powers  of 
intrigue ;  he  was  indefatigable. 
At  work  morning,  noon,  and  night, 
he  listened  to  every  one,  accepted 
each  suggestion  for  what  it  was 
worth,  and  kept  his  own  counsel. 
His  inquiries  were  searching :  his 
quick  eye  noted  everything,  espe- 
cially the  discrepancies  in  the 
statements  of  the  companions  of 
the  missing  man  •  but  he  had  an 
object  in  misleading  them,  so  he 
said  nothing,  and  took  his  own 
way.  He  became  to  all  appear- 
ances an  early  convert  to  the 
theory  of  suicide,  but  he  kept 
Nerbada  Gir  and  his  four  com- 
panions constantly  with  him  to 
refer  to  if  necessary.  Before  long 
the  accumulated  evidence  seemed 
to  point  to  a  probability  that  Ram 
Bharti,  tired  of  his  lawsuit  and 
broken  down  with  the  constant 
strain  on  his  mind,  had  made 
away  with  himself.  Seeing  this, 
Nerbada  Gir  volunteered  a  second 
statement,  and  each  of  his  four 
companions  had  some  story  cor- 


212 


An  Indian  Sensation. 


[Aug. 


roborating  him,  all  in  the  direction 
of  suicide.  They  explained  that 
they  had  not  suggested  it  at  first 
because  they  only  realised  the 
probability  of  it  when  the  mahout 
reported  that  Ram  Bharti  had  not 
gone  to  Adigaon.  Their  first  story 
was  that  the  missing  man  had 
gone  out  of  Nerbada  Gir's  about 
3  A.M.  with  two  or  three  of  his 
companions  (each  differed  as  to 
who  the  three  were,  for  each  man 
named  the  others  and  omitted 
himself).  They  only  went  a  short 
distance,  and  left  Ram  Bharti  alone 
in  a  garden  outside  the  town. 
There  was  no  trace  in  this  garden  ; 
but  on  the  other  side  of  a  hedge, 
on  the  way  there,  the  police-officer's 
quick  eye  saw  that  the  ground  had 
been  a  good  deal  trampled.  He 
said  nothing  at  the  time  ;  but  while 
his  followers  were  cooking  their 
food,  he  went  back  and  found  clear 
tracks  of  four  men  carrying  a 
heavy  load.  A  little  way  on  this 
load  had  been  put  down  while  an 
opening  was  made  in  a  hedge,  and 
there  on  the  wet  ground  was  the 
distinct  outline  of  a  human  body. 
A  little  beyond  this  the  ground 
was  stony,  so  that  the  tracks  could 
not  be  carried  farther ;  but  as  far 
as  could  be  seen,  they  led  in  the 
direction  of  a  well  some  20  feet 
deep,  known  as  the  Diwan's,  which 
was  about  200  yards  from  a  police- 
post.  The  footprints  were  meas- 
ured, but  this  told  nothing  except 
that  the  carriers  all  wore  shoes. 
In  that  country  shoemakers  are 
scarce,  and  shoes  are  never  made  to 
measure,  so  that  any  number  to 
fit  these  marks  could  have  been 
found— in  fact,  a  policeman's  tried 
fitted  exactly. 

As  it  was  late  it  was  decided 
to  search  the  Diwan's  well  the 
next  day  ;  but  early  the  following 
morning  all  doubt  as  to  the  miss- 
ing man's  fate  was  set  at  rest. 
A  Brahman  woman  walked  down 


the  steps  of  this  well  leading  to 
the  water,  and  stooped  to  dip  her 
brass  vessel  in,  when  she  was 
terrified  with  the  sight  of  the 
swollen  and  livid  features  of 
a  corpse  floating  almost  within, 
arm's-length.  She  dropped  her 
water-pot  and  lied,  shrieking,  past 
the  police -post  close  by.  The 
police  ran  to  the  spot,  where  half 
the  town  soon  crowded  round. 
The  body  was  taken  out  of  the 
water,  and  at  once  recognised  as 
that  of  Ram  Bharti.  There  were 
marks  on  the  throat  as  if  the 
dead  man  had  been  strangled ; 
the  clothes  had  been  so  fastened 
as  to  leave  no  room  for  movement 
of  hands  or  arms  •  there  was  only 
one  shoe,  and  the  cheddar  or  cloth 
was  missing.  On  dragging  the 
well  the  missing  shoe  could  not 
be  found ;  the  cloth  was,  and  in 
it  was  tied  up  a  stone  larger  and 
heavier  than  could  well  have  been 
lifted  by  one  man.  The  knots  in 
the  cloth  showed  that  it  had  been 
used  to  tie  this  stone  tightly  to 
the  body,  and  they  had  evidently 
only  slipped  when  the  stomach 
swelled — then  the  corpse  rose  to 
the  surface. 

At  the  inquest  the  civil  surgeon 
pronounced  decisively  that  death 
was  caused  by  strangling  before 
the  body  was  put  into  the  water. 
The  silent  testimony  of  the  wounds 
in  the  neck  and  the  knotted  cloth 
went  far  to  support  this  view. 
Still  the  police  -  officer  made  no 
sign,  but  gave  his  followers  to 
understand  that  he  was  sure  the 
medical  officer  was  mistaken,  and 
that  Ram  Bharti  had  committed 
suicide.  Up  to  this  he  had  been 
very  careful  never  to  let  these 
four  men  think  that  he  was  fully 
convinced  that  they  alone  had 
murdered  Ram  Bharti,  and  they 
had  played  into  his  hands ;  for 
they  were  most  anxious  not  to  lose 
sight  of  each  other,  as  each  felt 


1898.] 


An  Indian  Sensation. 


213 


sure  his  neighbour  would  betray 
him  if  he  had  the  opportunity. 
The  police-officer  was  waiting  for 
the  return  of  the  detectives  sent 
to  Adigaon  to  inquire  the  move- 
ments of  the  jemadar  and  havildar 
before  they  came  into  Seoni  with 
the  elephant. 

Meantime  public  feeling  ran 
very  high  in  Seoni,  and  soon  a 
well-defined  accusation  of  murder 
was  brought  against  Rao  Surat 
Sing,  a  petty  chief  of  a  neighbour- 
ing district.  He  had  incurred  the 
odium  of  several  influential  resi- 
dents of  the  town  by  assisting  the 
authorities  in  another  cause  celebre, 
and  these  people  thought  the  op- 
portunity too  good  to  be  lost.  Rao 
Surat  Sing  had  come  as  a  partisan 
of  Dhokal  Bharti,  and  had  been  as- 
sisting him  with  means  to  carry  on 
his  unsuccessful  suit.  Not  liking 
his  friend's  prospects,  native-like 
he  made  overtures  to  the  other 
side,  and  offered  certain  informa- 
tion of  importance  for  a  considera- 
tion. Ram  Bharti  did  not  like  to 
pay  the  price  asked,  so  temporised, 
and  tried  to  secure  it  for  a  smaller 
sum.  For  this  purpose  he  visited 
Rao  Surat  Sing  at  his  house  at  11 
P.M.  the  night  before  he  disap- 
peared. What  more  natural  than 
that  the  two  parties  could  not 
agree  ?  from  words  they  came  to 
blows,  and  in  the  struggle  Ram 
Bharti  was  killed  and  his  body 
put  out  of  the  way  down  the  well. 
Where  money  was  plentiful  it  was 
no  difficult  task  for  a  few  influen- 
tial men,  all  sworn  to  vengeance, 
to  construct  a  very  plausible  story 
on  the  tangible  basis  of  the  inter- 
view between  the  chief  and  Ram 
Bharti,  and  to  support  every  point 
with  the  requisite  witnesses. 

It  was  soon  brought  to  the  ears 
of  the  police  that  a  wrestler  of 
some  note  in  the  suite  of  Surat 
Sing  had  been  seen  to  strangle 
Ram  Bharti  in  his  master's  pre- 


sence. The  case  was  worked  up 
with  skill,  every  detail  was  looked 
to,  and  before  long  the  police- 
officer  had  to  lay  it  before  the 
magistrate,  although  satisfied  in 
his  own  mind  that  there  was 
absolutely  no  truth  in  the  charge, 
and  that  it  was  bolstered  up  with 
a  mass  of  perjuries.  Delay  suited 
his  purpose,  as  he  had  no  wish  to 
bring  matters  to  a  crisis  before  his 
own  chain  of  evidence  was  com- 
plete against  the  real  offenders. 
Accordingly  he  adapted  himself  to 
circumstances,  and  to  all  outward 
appearance  encouraged  the  per- 
secutors of  the  chief  and  gave 
them  valuable  support,  while  in 
all  his  inquiries  he  consulted  Ner- 
bada  Gir  and  his  companions,  and 
gave  them  no  cause  to  think  them- 
selves suspected.  The  wrestler 
was  arrested,  the  magistrate  re- 
corded the  deposition  of  each 
witness,  the  counsel  for  the  ac- 
cused cross  examined.  Two  respect- 
able (1)  men  swore  to  hearing 
high  words,  followed  by  the  sound 
of  blows  and  muffled  cries  in  the 
courtyard  of  the  chief's  house; 
two  others  told  how  they  had  seen, 
through  a  crevice  in  the  wall,  the 
wrestler  seize  the  deceased  by  the 
throat  and  hold  him  until  he 
ceased  to  breathe.  Others  swore 
to  seeing  the  body  of  a  man  carried 
out  of  the  chief's  house  up  certain 
streets  in  the  direction  of  the 
Diwan's  well :  they  followed  a 
short  distance  and  then  stopped, 
being  afraid  of  being  seen,  so  they 
could  not  tell  where  the  corpse 
was  eventually  taken.  For  the 
same  reason  they  had  kept  silent 
until  they  were  certain  of  support. 
The  chief  said  that  Ram  Bharti 
had  certainly  called  upon  him  on 
the  night  in  question  about  the 
hour  stated  by  the  witnesses. 
After  a  little  conversation  he  left 
with  Nerbada  Gir,  the  jemadar, 
and  the  havildar.  Each  witness 


214 


An  Indian  Sensation. 


[Aug. 


told  his  story  remarkably  clearly ; 
there  were  no  discrepancies  of 
importance ;  points  on  which  na- 
tives generally  disagree  all  tallied 
exactly,  and  were  unaffected  by 
cross-examination.  No  one  saw 
clearer  than  Rao  Surat  Sing  that 
the  case  looked  most  unpleasant 
for  himself.  He  was  struck  dumb 
with  horror  and  astonishment 
when  he  saw  the  net  gradually 
closing  on  him,  as  his  careful  cross- 
examination  entirely  failed  to 
break  down  the  evidence.  He 
began  to  look  the  picture  of  de- 
spair, the  moisture  stood  out  in 
great  drops  upon  his  brow,  for  he 
saw  that  unless  something  quite  un- 
foreseen happened  the  magistrate 
would  have  no  option  but  to  com- 
mit him  to  the  Session  Court  for 
trial  for  murder. 

The  magistrate  had  been  struck 
by  some  small  discrepancies  as  to 
the  exact  locality  of  some  of  the 
transactions  spoken  to,  and,  in 
order  to  clear  up  these,  the  trial 
was  adjourned  to  the  chief's  house. 
There  each  witness  was  asked  to 
point  out  the  exact  spot  where 
every  event  he  had  deponed  to 
had  happened,  where  he  and  his 
companion  witnesses  had  been 
standing  when  they  saw  the  facts 
they  had  sworn  to,  where  they  had 
gone  afterwards,  and  where  they 
had  parted  from  each  other.  This 
was  too  much  for  them ;  their  in- 
structions had  not  contemplated 
this  test,  and  the  whole  fabric  con- 
structed with  such  care  and  skill 
crumbled  away.  In  not  one  single 
point  could  any  two  witnesses 
agree  ;  each  pointed  out  a  different 
spot  for  every  transaction.  The 
crevice  in  the  wall  through  which 
the  wrestler  had  been  seen  to 
strangle  Ram  Bharti  could  not  be 
found  ;  there  was  a  crack  in  one  of 
the  outer  walls,  but  at  the  back, 
not  the  front,  where  the  murder 
was  said  to  have  been  committed. 


And  no  two  men  could  agree  as  to 
the  road  up  which  the  corpse  had 
been  carried.  Great  was  the  relief 
of  the  chief  and  the  wrestler,  for 
they  had  begun  to  feel  ropes 
tightening  about  their  necks.  For  / 
the  rest  of  his  life  Rao  Surat  Sing 
looked  upon  that  trial  as  one  of 
the  most  unpleasant  of  his  experi- 
ences. 

With  this  collapse  of  the  attempt 
to  prove  the  innocent  guilty,  there 
was  a  manifest  drooping  of  spirits 
among  the  "  suspects  "  :  the  dd- 
nodment  came  very  shortly  after. 
The  detective  came  back  from 
Adigaon  with  clear  evidence  of  the 
murder  of  a  traveller  about  a  month 
previously  by  the  jemadar  and 
havildar.  He  also  brought  in  a 
letter  from  Nerbada  Gir  to  the 
jemadar,  calling  him  and  the  havil- 
dar into  Seoni,  as  "  there  was  work 
for  them  there  which  would  be  of 
advantage  to  some  they  knew." 
Nerbada  Gir  explained  that  he  had 
written  this  letter  under  the  in- 
structions of  Ram  Bharti,  who 
wanted  the  two  policemen  as  his 
escort  to  Adigaon.  He  had  for- 
gotten to  mention  before  having 
written  this  letter.  The  two 
policemen  were  arrested  on  the 
charge  of  the  murder  of  the  travel- 
ler, and  Nerbada  Gir  on  suspicion 
of  being  concerned  in  the  death  of 
Ram  Bharti.  All  three  were 
locked  up  separately.  And  a 
further,  but  unsuccessful,  search 
was  made  for  the  missing  shoe. 
Had  it  been  found  in  Nerbada 
Gir's  house,  obviously  the  inference 
would  have  been  fair,  that  the 
murder  had  been  committed  in  the 
house  and  the  body  subsequently 
carried  to  the  well ;  for  no  native 
would  have  left  his  house  of  his 
own  free  will  with  only  one  shoe 
on — he  would  either  have  gone 
barefoot  or  worn  both. 

These  three  arrests  came  as  a  pain- 
ful surprise  to  all  the  "suspects," 


1898.] 


An  Indian  Sensation. 


215 


for  they  had  been  living  in  fancied 
security,  thinking  that  the  police- 
officer  had  swallowed  their  stories 
and  had  no  inkling  of  the  truth. 
It  now  became  simply  a  question 
of  time  which  of  them  would  first 
make  a  clean  breast  of  it,  in  the 
hope  of  throwing  some  of  his  own 
guilt  on  to  his  companions.  First 
one  man  gave  a  little  information, 
another  dropped  a  hint  here,  and 
finally  the  jemadar  volunteered 
to  make  a  full  and  true  confession 
before  the  magistrate.  I  give  his 
story  as  nearly  as  possible  in  his 
own  words.  I  am  writing  from 
memory  ;  but  the  man's  narrative 
and  his  manner  in  telling  it  made 
so  deep  an  impression  on  me  that 
I  do  not  think  I  shall  ever  for- 
get it: — 

"Early  in  September  Nerbada 
Gir  sent  me  a  note  asking  me  to 
come  into  Seoni  with  the  havildar, 
the  elephant,  and  its  attendants, 
as  there  was  some  important  work 
to  be  done.  This  is  the  note.  It 
gives  no  particulars,  and  the  mes- 
senger gave  no  explanations.  I 
guessed  that  it  had  to  do  with 
Ram  Bharti's  succession.  I  had 
long  known  Nerbada  Gir  as  a 
friend  and  retainer  of  the  late 
Nerbada  Bharti.  He  had  been 
mixed  up  with  the  many  intrigues 
that  had  been  going  on  since  that 
mahant's  death  ;  but  latterly  he 
had  taken  up  altogether  with  Ram 
Bharti,  lent  him  money  —  how 
much  I  cannot  say  —  and  appar- 
ently had  quarrelled  openly  with 
his  opponents.  Without  delay 
our  party  started.  The  messenger 
returned  alone ;  he  was  the  barber 
and  confidential  servant  to  Ram 
Bharti,  and  was  one  of  the  five 
men  in  the  house  the  night  of 
his  master's  death.  He  met  us 
again  a  little  distance  from  Seoni 
the  day  we  arrived,  telling  us  not 
to  bring  the  elephant  into  the 

VOL.  CLXIV. — NO.  DCCCCXCIV. 


town,  but  to  leave  it  at  a  village 
about  one  and  a  half  mile  distant. 
We  accordingly  left  it  there  in 
charge  of  the  forage  cutters  and 
the  havildar.  The  mahout  and  I 
accompanied  the  barber  on  foot  to 
Nerbada  Gir's  house.  We  had 
taken  nearly  three  days  en  route, 
and  it  was  almost  dark  and  too 
late  the  night  we  arrived  for  us 
to  have  any  conversation  with 
Nerbada  Gir  ;  but  he  told  me  to 
come  out  with  him  early  in  the 
morning,  in  order  that  we  might 
have  a  quiet  talk.  Ram  Bharti 
seemed  a  little  surprised  to  see 
us  when  we  made  our  bow  to 
him,  and  asked  why  we  had  come. 
We  told  him,  to  see  him  and 
inquire  when  he  intended  to  set 
up  his  rule  in  Adigaon,  as  his 
presence  was  much  wanted,  things 
being  greatly  mismanaged  in  his 
absence.  He  replied  that  he  hoped 
to  come  soon,  when  his  law  busi- 
ness was  a  little  more  settled. 
Nothing  further  was  said  that 
night.  We  supped  and  slept 
quietly,  as  we  were  tired. 

"  Early  the  next  morning  Ner- 
bada Gir  roused  me  and  the  havil- 
dar, and  we  went  together  into  a 
garden  beyond  the  town  :  there  he 
told  us  plainly  that  matters  had 
come  to  such  a  crisis  that  it  was 
useless  having  a  ruler  like  Ram 
Bharti.  He  was  daily  getting 
more  and  more  beyond  control, 
and  would  probably  throw  over 
all  his  friends  shortly  and  take  up 
with  some  one  else.  He  had 
already  become  less  and  less  amen- 
able to  his  (Nerbada  Gir's)  guid- 
ance, and  threatened  to  stop  all 
further  legal  proceedings,  dispute 
the  first  court's  award  no  longer, 
but  accept  what  he  could  get,  and 
go  to  live  quietly  as  a  farmer  on 
his  estates,  carrying  out  the  orders 
of  the  British  Government  in 
everything.  Personally  we  had 
none  of  us  any  particular  enmity 


216 


An  Indian  Sensation. 


[Aug. 


to  Ram  Bharti ;  but  Nerbada  Gir 
pointed  out  that  unless  the  battle 
was  fought  out  to  the  end,  and 
the  estate  restored  revenue  free  to 
its  former  holders,  we  should  lose 
any  advantage  we  might  have  ex- 
pected from  Bam  Bharti's  suc- 
cession, for  the  English  police 
would  take  our  place,  and  our 
occupation  would  be  lost  beyond 
all  hope,  while  he,  Nerbada  Gir, 
would  lose  all  the  money  he  had 
advanced  from  time  to  time  both 
for  maintenance  and  the  lawsuit. 
The  havildar  and  I  both  hoped 
that  if  the  old  state  of  affairs  was 
restored  we  should  regain  our 
positions  as  heads  of  the  local 
police,  and  so  be  able  to  live  in 
comfort;  thus  we  agreed  to  help 
Nerbada  Gir  to  the  best  of  our 
power.  He  had  already  talked 
over  the  other  two  men,  so  it  was 
only  necessary  to  decide  the  time 
and  place  for  action  :  we  accord- 
ingly took  counsel  together  as  to 
how  best  we  could  dispose  of 
Ram  Bharti  without  exciting  sus- 
picion. Nerbada  Gir  suggested 
that  he  should  be  advised  to  start 
for  Adigaon  on  the  elephant  in 
company  with  the  havildar  and 
myself,  and  that  we,  taking  advan- 
tage of  some  lonely  place  on  the 
road,  should  murder  him  and  con- 
ceal his  body  as  best  we  could. 
We  could  then  give  out  that  he 
had  been  carried  off  by  a  tiger. 
Meantime  Nerbada  Gir  was  to 
remain  in  Seoni  and  divert  sus- 
picion from  us. 

"We  objected  at  once  to  this 
plan,  for  we  said  the  police-officer 
was  not  one  to  be  lightly  deceived  : 
he  would  never  rest  satisfied  with 
any  story  about  tigers  until  he 
had  examined  the  locality  and 
ascertained  that  beyond  a  doubt 
tigers  were  in  the  habit  of  killing 
men  in  the  vicinity.  In  the  course 
of  a  search  of  this  description  he 
would  be  certain  to  happen  on 


traces  of  a  struggle  and  of  human 
feet ;  he  would  then  require  Ram 
Bharti  at  the  hands  of  the  men 
who  accompanied  him  from  Seoni. 
It  would  be  useless  to  try  and  lead 
him  to  some  other  place,  for  the 
elephant  tracks  would  be  an  un- 
erring guide  for  him.  Besides,  I 
argued  that  whatever  was  done 
should  be  done  by  all  five  together ; 
one  could  not  then  incriminate  the 
other  without  endangering  him- 
self. I  had  no  faith  at  all  in 
Nerbada  Gir,  and  was  convinced 
that  he  would  employ  us  to  murder 
Ram  Bharti  and  then  turn  round 
and  inform  against  us.  After 
some  consultation,  we  decided  that 
Ram  Bharti  should  be  advised  that 
his  enemies  in  the  town  were 
plotting  to  get  him  into  their 
power,  so  to  avoid  them  he  should 
start  for  Adigaon  the  next  morn- 
ing. We  were  all  five  to  go  with 
him  and  take  the  first  opportunity 
of  making  away  with  him.  We 
made  no  special  plan  how  to  kill 
him  or  how  to  dispose  of  the  body 
afterwards,  intending  to  be  guided 
by  circumstances.  If  near  a  river, 
we  could  put  the  body  in  and  leave 
it  to  be  carried  away  by  the  floods ; 
we  could  then  report  that  the 
waters  had  risen  suddenly  and 
swept  away  Ram  Bharti  while 
crossing,  and  that  we  ourselves 
had  escaped  with  difficulty.  We 
decided  to  use  no  weapons,  but 
Ram  Bharti  was  to  be  strangled 
either  with  the  hands  so  [placing 
the  hands  together  and  giving  the 
thumbs  a  peculiar  turn  inwards], 
or  with  a  handkerchief.  Either 
way  there  would  be  no  wounds. 
The  deceased  had  such  perfect  con- 
fidence in  Nerbada  Gir  that  he  sus- 
pected nothing,  and  fell  in  with 
our  proposals  at  once,  so  we  pre- 
pared for  an  early  start.  Perfect 
silence  as  to  our  plans  was  kept 
by  all.  Ram  Bharti  was  told  that 
it  was  essentially  necessary  his 


1898.] 

enemies  should  know  nothing  of 
his  intentions  until  he  was  out  of 
reach,  or  they  would  stop  him.  To 
stave  off  suspicion,  late  the  even- 
ing before  his  death  he  visited 
Rao  Surat  Sing,  and  conversed 
with  him  as  to  the  course  he 
should  pursue,  returning  to  Ner- 
bada  Gir's  about  11  P.M.  There  he 
ate  his  food  and  lay  down,  telling 
the  barber  to  shampoo  him.  While 
at  this  work  the  barber  had  a 
splendid  opportunity  of  doing  for 
him  :  he  had  only,  when  standing 
over  him,  to  pass  his  hands  up 
quietly  from  the  chest  to  the  throat 
and  hold  on  with  a  strong  grip, 
placing  his  knee  on  the  chest  at 
the  same  time;  but  though  I 
signalled  to  him  to  do  it,  he  was 
afraid.  Perhaps  it  was  as  well, 
for  it  is  not  easy  to  strangle  a 
man  without  noise  —  it  requires 
strong  wrists  and  experience. 

"  We  got  up  between  2  and  3  A.M. 
and  left  the  house,  taking  byroads 
so  as  to  avoid  police-posts.  We 
went  out  to  the  rear  of  the 
Diwan's  garden,  intending  to  cross 
the  fields  on  to  the  main-road  close 
to  the  village  where  the  elephant 
was.  The  night  was  cloudy  but 
not  very  dark ;  the  ground  was 
wet  and  muddy  from  the  recent 
rain.  The  path  led  through  long 
grass  and  thorny  jungle;  through 
this  we  walked  in  Indian  file.  I 
led,  Nerbada  Gir  followed ;  next 
to  him  came  Ram  Bharti,  behind 
him  was  the  havildar,  the  mahout, 
and  the  barber.  We  went  along 
in  perfect  silence  until  we  came 
to  the  bank  of  a  small  tank  about 
half  a  mile  from  the  town  :  here 
there  was  a  hollow  surrounded 
with  close  dense  jungle,  and  the 
suitability  for  our  purpose  seemed 
to  strike  us  all  simultaneously.  I 
stopped;  Nerbada  Gir  turned  on 
Ram  Bharti,  who  from  the  sudden- 
ness of  the  assault  slipped  back- 
wards :  as  he  fell  the  havildar's 


An  Indian  Sensation. 


217 


hands  closed  round  his  throat, 
Nerbada  Gir  knelt  on  his  chest, 
I  held  his  legs,  and  the  other  two 
his  arms.  In  less  than  two  min- 
utes he  ceased  to  struggle,  a  little 
more  and  he  ceased  to  breathe. 
He  did  not  utter  a  cry  or  a  sound, 
and  not  a  word  was  spoken  by  any 
of  us.  When  quite  dead  we  left 
the  body  and  went  to  the  tank, 
where  we  washed  our  hands  and 
consulted  how  to  dispose  of  the 
corpse.  It  would  not  do  to  leave 
it  where  it  was,  though  the  spot 
was  quite  unfrequented ;  the  vul- 
tures or  jackals  would  draw  atten- 
tion to  it  sooner  or  later.  We  had 
no  tools  with  which  to  dig  a  grave. 
We  might  have  thrown  the  body 
into  one  of  the  old  wells  about, 
but  Nerbada  Gir  made  a  sugges- 
tion which  pleased  us  all  :  this 
was,  that  when  the  disappearance 
of  Ram  Bharti  became  known,  the 
report  should  be  quietly  and  care- 
fully spread  that,  tired  of  all  his 
law  troubles,  he  had  committed 
suicide.  To  give  a  colour  of  proba- 
bility to  this  story,  the  body  should 
be  put  into  a  well  close  to  the 
town,  as  there  were  no  wounds  on 
it.  When  it  rose  to  the  surface 
the  theory  of  suicide  would  sound 
exceedingly  plausible,  and  the 
police  would  certainly  argue  that 
a  largely  frequented  well  close  to 
the  town  would  be  the  last  place 
murderers  were  likely  to  select  to 
dispose  of  their  victim's  corpse. 
We  carried  the  body  between  us 
to  the  Diwan's  well :  it  was  a  long 
weary  way,  and  we  had  to  put  our 
heavy  burden  down  more  than 
once  to  rest  and  to  make  our  way 
through  hedges.  We  tied  a  large 
stone  in  the  cloth,  afterwards 
found  in  the  well,  and  fastening 
it  round  the  corpse,  carried  it 
down  the  steps  and  put  it  care- 
fully into  the  water.  We  dared 
not  throw  it  in,  for  the  splash 
would  have  been  heard  at  the 


218 


An  Indian  Sensation. 


[Aug. 


police-post  not  200  yards  off.  We 
then  returned  quietly  to  Nerbada 
Gir's  house,  unseen,  as  far  as  we 
knew,  by  any  one,  and  when  day 
broke  each  man  went  about  his 
usual  business  as  if  nothing  had 
happened.  The  mahout  took  the 
elephant  away  to  a  village  half- 
way to  Adigaon,  and  waited  there 
till  he  was  brought  in  by  the 
police. 

"  About  noon  the  neighbours 
began  to  ask  why  they  had  not 
seen  Ram  Bharti  out  as  usual,  so 
Nerbada  Gir  and  I  went  and  told 
the  police  that  Ram  Bharti  had 
gone  out  early  in  the  morning  but 
had  not  returned.  We  asked  for 
their  assistance,  as  we  could  not 
understand  his  disappearance :  he 
had  certainly  spoken  of  going  out 
to  Adigaon,  but  we  had  no  idea 
that  he  intended  to  go  in  this 
secret  manner. 

"  The  disappearance  of  one  of 
Ram  Bharti's  shoes,  either  in  the 
struggle  or  when  we  were  carry- 
ing the  body,  has  troubled  us  much 
ever  since.  When  we  reached  the 
well  the  shoe  was  missing,  and 
search  as  we  would  in  the  dark, 
we  could  not  find  it.  We  none  of 
us  dared  to  go  to  the  scene  of  the 
murder  by  daylight,  for  we  were 
afraid  of  drawing  attention  to  the 
spot.  At  one  time  we  feared  that 
the  police-officer  had  discovered 
where  the  murder  was  committed, 
for  he  was  seen  to  go  into  the 
garden  where  we  had  to  break 
through  the  fence  when  carrying 
the  body  to  the  well  :  fortunately 
the  rain  had  obliterated  much  of 
the  track,  leaving  only  the  marks 
in  the  ground  where  the  corpse 
had  been  put  down,  and  where,  in 
the  effort  to  lift  it  up  again,  our 
feet  had  sunk  in, — their  traces 
were  plainly  visible.  We  all  knew 
we  were  watched  ;  but  we  thought 
it  was  done  pro  formd,  and  that 
we  could  run  away  when  we  liked. 


I  held  on,  just  to  see  the  turn  that 
things  were  likely  to  take,  and 
also  to  see  that  none  of  the  others 
turned  informers,  for  I  trusted  no 
one  but  the  havildar — he  and  I 
have  worked  together  too  long  to 
betray  each  other.  I  always  ex- 
pected Nerbada  Gir  to  turn  traitor, 
and  endeavour  to  throw  the  whole 
onus  of  the  crime  on  to  us  two  if 
he  got  the  chance,  so  I  have 
elected  to  be  beforehand  with 
him,  and  am  now  ready  to  prove 
what  I  have  said.  I  can  show 
the  magistrate  the  spot  where 
Ram  Bharti  was  killed,  and  al- 
though a  month  ago,  the  marks  of 
the  struggle  are  probably  still 
visible,  and  the  tracks,  both  there 
and  on  the  path  along  which  the 
corpse  was  carried,  will  show  the 
truth  of  my  story." 

I  went  off  at  once  with  the 
jemadar,  and  he  pointed  out  step 
by  step  the  route  the  party  had 
taken.  Where  the  struggle  had 
been,  the  marks  were  perfectly 
clear ;  the  long  grass  had  not  risen 
again,  but  was  lying  crushed  into 
the  mud,  and  there,  buried  in  the 
sodden  grass,  almost  under  the 
spot  where  the  unfortunate  man 
was  murdered,  was  found  the 
missing  shoe,  beaten  out  of  shape, 
but  easily  recognisable  as  the  fel- 
low of  that  found  in  the  well 
from  which  the  corpse  had  been 
taken.  Farther  on,  wherever  the 
carrying  party  had  stopped  to 
rest,  the  mark  of  the  corpse  was 
still  clear  and  distinct  in  the  soft 
black  soil.  It  would  have  been 
almost  impossible  to  obtain  more 
perfect  corroboration  of  the  jem- 
adar's story.  The  havildar,  too, 
said  it  was  right  in  every  point, 
except  in  ascribing  to  him  the  part 
of  strangling  Ram  Bharti:  the  jem- 
adar had  done  that  himself,  while 
the  havildar  held  his  legs.  There 
is  little  room  for  doubt  that  the 


1898.] 


An  Indian  Sensation. 


219 


jemadar  had  not  told  the  truth  on 
that  point,  for  when  describing 
the  struggle  his  hands  (apparently 
quite  unintentionally)  worked  so 
nervously  that  it  was  easy  to  see 
from  them  how  Ram  Bharti  had 
been  done  to  death — in  fact,  this 
working  of  the  jemadar's  hands 
was  far  more  expressive  than  the 
most  vivid  verbal  description. 

Of  the  other  accomplices,  Ner- 
bada  Gir  denied  all  knowledge, 
the  mahout  preserved  a  sullen  si- 
lence, while  the  barber  said  he 
looked  on  afraid  to  speak  or  move, 
lest  his  turn  should  come  next  if 
he  dared  to  remonstrate.  Bit  by 
bit  the  story  was  corroborated  by 
one  fact  and  another,  until  there 
was  no  flaw  in  the  evidence.  The 
men  were  all  committed  for  trial, 
and  eventually  the  three  principals 
were  hanged,  while  the  subordin- 
ates received  the  benefit  of  the 
doubt  as  to  whether  they  had  been 
acting  under  orders  or  not. 

Throughout  both  trials  not  one 
word  was  said  by  any  one  of  the 
party  that  could  implicate  Dhokal 
Bharti.  It  was  believed  that  the 
jemadar  and  havildar  had  been  in 
communication  with  him  before 
they  came  to  Seoni,  and  the  com- 
mon talk  of  the  bazaars  ascribed 
the  murder  to  him.  A  letter  of 
his  addressed  to  Nerbada  Gir  was 
found,  but  there  was  nothing 
tangible  in  it.  To  all  appearances 
he  was  the  only  person  interested 
in  the  removal  of  Bam  Bharti, 


and  certainly  the  men  who  mur- 
dered him  could  be  the  gainers  in 
no  way.  The  jemadar's  story,  that 
he  and  the  havildar  hoped  that 
the  battle  might  be  continued, 
and  that  they  would  eventually  re- 
gain their  positions  as  heads  of  the 
Adigaon  police,  sounded  plausible  ; 
but  as  a  matter  of  fact  it  was  not, 
for  both  men  knew  well  that  their 
offices  had  been  done  away  with  a 
year  before,  and  that  the  orders 
were  distinct  that  only  British 
police  should  be  employed  in  the 
estate  in  future.  Documents  were 
found  which  seemed  to  show  that 
Nerbada  Gir  was  in  a  pecuniary 
point  of  view  a  loser;  for  there 
were  written  promises  of  Ram 
Bharti's  to  repay  with  heavy  in- 
terest money  borrowed  from  time 
to  time,  and  also  to  make  over 
certain  villages  in  proprietary 
tenure  as  soon  as  the  estate  was 
recovered.  Possibly  higher  offers 
were  made  by  others. 

The  mahout  had  nothing  to 
lose  or  gain  :  he  and  his  elephant 
went  together.  To  the  barber  his 
master's  death  was  apparently 
ruin ;  still  no  one  breathed  a 
word  or  made  a  sign  as  to  the 
real  motive  for  the  crime.  It 
was  a  remarkable  instance  of  a 
murder  with  no  motive  apparent, 
where  the  murderers  elected  to 
go  to  certain  death  themselves 
in  preference  to  saying  one  word 
to  implicate  their  employer. 

H.  C.  E.  WARD, 


220 


Murray  of  Broii-ghton. 


[Aug. 


MUT1RAY    OF    BKOUGHTOF. 


"  No  lip  of  mine  comes  after 
that  of  Murray  of  Broughton," 
said  Sir  Walter's  father,  as  he 
threw  the  historic  teacup  out  of 
the  window.  Murray  was  poison- 
ous !  The  familiar  incident  lights 
up  some  thirty  years  of  a  life  spent 
in  the  blackness  of  universal  loath- 
ing and  contempt.  North  of  the 
Highland  line  were  traitors  more 
inveterate  and  much  more  sordid 
than  Broughton.  But  the  scandal 
of  the  Lowland  Judas  was  public. 
The  Celtic  betrayers,  Barisdale, 
Glengarry,  .ZEneas  Macdonald, 
Allan  of  Knock,  Downan,  and 
others,  had  their  infamy  buried  in 
piles  of  official  MSS.,  while  the  one 
Lowland  gentleman  who  sold  hon- 
our for  life  has  been  a  world's 
gazingstock,  "  a  monster  unto 
many." 

Mr  Fitzroy  Bell  has  now  pub- 
lished, for  the  Scottish  History 
Society,  those  papers  in  which  the 
outcast  Murray  strives  to  batter 
himself  into  his  own  good  opinion. 
The  editor  has  added  illustrative 
documents,  from  our  own  and  the 
French  State  Manuscripts,  and 
letters  from  the  Stuart  Papers  in 
her  Majesty's  possession.  He  has 
also  contributed  a  careful  Intro- 
duction, and  it  is  probable  that 
little  more  remains  to  be  known 
about  the  unhappy  Secretary, 
whose  beautiful  wife  distributed 
white  cockades  when  King  James 
was  proclaimed  in  Edinburgh.1 

The  papers  of  Murray  were 
written  about  1757,  and  -were 
probably  intended  for  posthumous 
publication.  They  are  now  the 
property  of  Mr  George  Siddons 
Murray,  great  grandson  of  the 


Secretary  by  an  alliance  con- 
tracted after  his  beautiful  wife 
had  left  him  and  was  lost  to  the 
research  of  curious  historians.  That 
Mrs  Murray  was  ever  the  Prince's 
mistress  is  to  the  last  degree  im- 
probable. Charles  had  no  time  for 
love  affairs,  in  which  he  was  ever 
the  pursued,  not  the  pursuer. 
"  William  is  brave,  Charles  is — 
chaste,"  said  a  Whig  newspaper  of 
the  day.  It  is  quite  certain  that 
Mrs  Murray  did  not  leave  her  lord 
to  join  the  Prince,  nor  leave  him, 
as  Mr  Bell  says,  when  he  was  in 
the  Tower.  She  was  with  Murray 
as  late  as  1749,  and,  from  1749 
onwards,  we  know  that  Madame 
de  Talmond  and  Miss  Walkinshaw 
were  the  ladies  who  consoled  the 
exile,  while  Madame  de  Vasse, 
and  the  philosophic  Mdlle.  Ferrand, 
protected  him  in  their  convent, 
and  conducted  his  affairs.  In  his 
Memorials  Murray  always  de- 
fends the  behaviour  of  his  wife,  and 
never  hints  at  any  disagreement. 

His  Memorials  are  complicated, 
prolix,  and  verbose.  Their  inter- 
est is  of  three  kinds.  They  first 
elucidate  the  dark  background  of 
intrigue,  the  cloud  from  which 
flashed  the  claymore  of  Lochiel. 
Never  was  a  party  so  hopelessly 
torn  by  internal  jealousies,  so 
ruined  by  treachery  and  cowardice, 
so  poverty-stricken  and  disorgan- 
ised, as  the  Jacobite  party  in 
1740-45.  We  shall  first  endeavour 
to  illustrate  the  condition  of  the 
party  ;  then  examine  that  psycho- 
logical curiosity,  the  writhing,  re- 
morseful, self -justifying  soul  of 
Broughton ;  and,  lastly,  collect 
some  points  of  interest  about  the 


1  Memorials  of  Murray  of  Broughton.     Edinburgh  :  Printed  at  the  University 
Press  by  T.  &  A.  Constable  for  the  Scottish  History  Society,  1898. 


1898.] 


Murray  of  Broughton. 


221 


characters  of  those,  from  the 
Prince  to  Pickle,  with  whom  he 
was  concerned. 

Murray  was  born  in  1715. 
After  being  educated  at  the  Uni- 
versity of  Edinburgh,  he  carried 
his  hereditary  Jacobite  convictions 
to  Leyden,  where,  we  conceive, 
he  would  meet  Ezekiel  Hamilton, 
and  other  partisans,  who  then  kept 
up  a  grumbling  correspondence 
with  the  Duke  of  Ormond  and 
George  Kelly  at  Avignon,  and 
with  the  Earl  Marischal,  wher- 
ver  that  "  knight  without  a 
lady,"  and  Jacobite  from  repub- 
lican principles,  might  be  wan- 
dering. The  letters,  of  course, 
reached  Walpole  in  copies.  From 
Leyden,  Murray  went  to  Rome, 
in  1737-38,  and  there  fell  in  love 
with  the  "  fine  eyes "  of  Prince 
Charles,  then  a  lad  of  sixteen. 
Mr  Fitzroy  Bell  publishes  the 
miniature  of  the  Prince,  in  uni- 
form, with  Garter  and  Thistle, 
which  Charles  gave  to  his  future 
Secretary  in  a  diamond-mounted 
snuff-box.  In  the  original  enamel, 
Charles  is  "  a  lad  with  the  bloom 
of  a  lass " ;  but  neither  in  this, 
nor  in  any  other  authentic  por- 
trait, is  the  Prince  really  "bon- 
nie."  He  had  beautiful  hair, 
large,  rather  prominent,  brown 
eyes,  and  a  complexion  of  red  and 
white  roses,  but  "  bonnier "  boys 
are  to  be  seen  in  any  crowd  of 
young  cricketers. 

Murray,  at  all  events,  came 
under  the  fatal  spell,  and  never 
emancipated  himself  from  the 
Stuart  charm.  He  remained,  de- 
spite his  "rascality"  (as  Charles 
called  it),  not  only  a  fervent 
Jacobite,  but  a  sentimental  de- 
votee. This  it  is  which  deepens 
his  misery,  for  the  Lowland  Judas 


betrayed  the  master  whom  he 
never  could  cease  to  love. 

Returning  from  Rome  to  Scot- 
land, Murray  became  the  ac- 
credited but  unsalaried  Scottish 
correspondent  of  good  James  Ed- 
gar, the  faithful  servant  of  the 
exiled  king.  Here  we  must  de- 
scribe the  Jacobite  party  as  it 
was  when  war  between  France 
and  England  gave  hopes  of  good 
fishing  in  troubled  waters.  The 
Prince  was  young,  and  capable  of 
any  adventure.  He  certainly  main- 
tained a  secret  correspondence  with 
England  which,  later,  fell  by  acci- 
dent into  his  father's  hands.  He 
was  reckoned  a  little  prone  to 
drink  and  revelry,  a  little  inclined 
to  listen  to  Protestant  or  free- 
thinking  advisers,  and  he  made 
the  mistake  of  taking  his  brother 
Henry,  Duke  of  York,  into  his 
confidence  on  topics  not  to  be 
discussed  with  their  father.  In 
the  Duke's  own  early  life  there 
is  a  mystery,  which  James  darkly 
alludes  to  in  a  letter  to  Charles. 
He  was  very  devout,  he  was 
caballed  against,  he  recognised 
that  he  must  never  marry,  and, 
from  being  a  lad  of  great  spirit 
and  charm,  he  sank  to  accept  a 
Cardinal's  hat,  and  thereby  to 
break  up  the  party  and  cause  a 
deadly  feud  with  his  brother. 

Meanwhile  James,  after  a  long 
career  of  public  disappointment 
and  domestic  distress,  had  become 
a  mild  Stoic  philosopher.  "No 
character  in  history,"  says  Mr 
Fitzroy  Bell  with  truth,  "  has  been 
so  little  understood  as  this  Prince."1 
He  was  now  a  devotee  and  a  phil- 
osopher. He  made  the  most  aston- 
ishingly large  allowances,  both  for 
the  mean  self-seeking  of  France 
and  for  the  craven  conduct  of  his 


1  The  curious  reader  may  compare  "  Queen  Clementina,"  in  '  The  Dublin 
Review '  for  April,  an  essay  by  Miss  Alice  Shield.  At  last  the  king  has  found 
a  sympathetic  and  learned  historian. 


222 


Murray  of  Broughton. 


[Aug. 


English  partisans.  In  1744  he 
seems  to  have  intended  to  show 
himself  if  an  attempt  were  made. 
"  It  is  absolutely  impossible  for  me 
to  Joyn  the  expedition  at  first." 
But  when  the  Prince  set  sail  for 
Scotland,  James  told  Louis  XV. 
that  he  would  lack  good  faith  "  if 
he  pretended  to  assume  the  weight 
of  Government."  His  health  ren- 
dered him  "incapable  of  the  duties 
of  a  Prince  on  the  throne."  He 
appears  to  have  intended  to  ab- 
dicate in  favour  of  Charles,  who 
warmly  remonstrated  against  this 
resolution.  Charles  did  not  mean 
"  to  grasp  the  Crown  and  throw  his 
father  over."  Consequently  he 
could  not  take  the  essential  step 
(for  which,  save  in  his  father's 
interest,  he  was  personally  ready) 
of  announcing  James's  abdication 
and  his  own  conversion  to  Protes- 
tantism. Now,  by  an  extraordi- 
nary turn  of  luck,  while  James 
was  for  resigning,  and  Charles  was 
refusing  to  permit  it,  the  Jacobites 
split  (as  George  Kelly  predicted) 
into  a  King's  party  and  a  Prince's 
party,  in  the  very  crisis  of  their 
adventure.  This  was  not  the  fault 
of  Charles,  himself  plus  royaliste 
que  le  Roi. 

The  fatal  fissure  occurred  thus  : 
while  Murray  was  the  young  and 
keen  organiser  in  Scotland,  in 
1741-45,  James  was  served,  at  the 
French  Court,  by  Lord  Sempil 
(not,  of  course,  the  Hanoverian 
lord  who  fought  at  Culloden),  and 
by  William  Macgregor,  called 
Drummond,  of  Balhaldy,  supposed 
chief  of  the  Gregarach,  and  a  con- 
nection of  Lochiel.  This  Balhaldy 
is  Murray's  bete  noire.  He  is 
accused  of  plundering  the  Earl 
Marischal's  portmanteau  at  Sheriff- 
muir,  of  being  "low-lived,"  bank- 
rupt, and  ignorant,  a  boasting 
Celtic  liar.  Now  if  he  wrote  the 
'Life  of  Sir  Ewan  Cameron  of 
Lochiel '  (as  we  presume),  Bal- 


haldy was  a  man  of  reading  and 
reflection.  He  also  was  fond  of 
mechanic  arts,  a  maker  of  snuff- 
boxes with  secret  portraits  of  the 
king,  and  the  deviser  of  the 
Prince's  famous  "chese"  (as  he 
spells  "  chaise "),  with  all  its 
"  extraordinary  conveniences." 
Further,  he  certainly  procured  the 
accession  of  Louis  XV.  to  the 
cause  of  James,  in  December  1743  : 
he  then  went  to  Rome,  and  he 
actually  conducted  Charles  from 
Rome  to  France,  in  January  1744. 
Balhaldy's  son,  much  later,  married 
the  daughter  of  Oliphant  of  Gask, 
a  distinguished  alliance.  Balhaldy 
was  trusted  by  the  English  Jaco- 
bites, whom  he  visited  secretly,  as 
late  as  1749.  All  this  contradicts 
Murray's  personal  aspersions  on 
Balhaldy,  whom  he  detests  above 
even  Traquair,  while  Balhaldy's 
services,  in  December  1743 -Jan- 
uary 1744,  were  certainly  most 
distinguished.  He  and  Sempil  pos- 
sessed the  confidence  of  James,  and, 
at  first,  of  Charles.  But  both  were 
bitterly  distrusted  by  the  Earl 
Marischal,  who  was,  since  1715, 
the  most  beloved  and  esteemed 
man  in  the  Jacobite  party.  In 
1749  the  Earl  was  at  Boulogne, 
"lurking  for  a  spring,"  and,  at  the 
same  time,  was  warning  the  French 
Court  against  the  golden  reports 
of  Balhaldy  and  Sempil. 

Here  were  the  elements  of  a 
quarrel,  which  broke  out  when 
Murray,  as  Scottish  organiser,  be- 
came disgusted  with  the  futility 
and  the  Celtic  romances  of  Bal- 
haldy. The  general  result  was 
that  Murray  convinced  Charles, 
in  1744,  that  Sempil  and  Balhaldy 
were  false  and  jealous.  James,  at 
a  distance,  was  not  so  easily  un- 
deceived. Consequently  there  was, 
on  one  side,  the  Marischal,  Murray, 
Sheridan,  and  Kelly  party,  and, 
on  the  other,  the  Sempil  and  Bal- 
haldy party, — the  former  trusted 


1898.] 


Murray  of  Broughton. 


223 


by  the  Prince,  the  latter  by  the 
distant  king.  Between  the  two 
sides  the  Earl  of  Traquair  flitted 
like  a  bat,  heartless,  brainless,  a 
skulker.  When  union  was  im- 
peratively necessary,  Murray  was 
maligning  Sempil  and  Balhaldy ; 
Sempil  was  traducing  Murray, 
and  old  Mr  Cochrane  was  leaving 
the  Jacobite  cipher  trailing  about 
on  a  window  -  seat  or  under  a 
dictionary,  while  Balhaldy  was 
sending  Young  Glengarry  from 
France  to  warn  Lochiel  against 
Murray.  Old  Lovat  was  schem- 
ing for  a  dukedom,  ready  to  con- 
tinue his  life-long  course  of  trea- 
son. The  Duke  of  Hamilton  was 
privately  providing  money ;  Ken- 
mure  and  Gordon  of  Earlstoun 
were  hoping  to  win  over  the 
Oameronian  remnant. '  The  Buck 
Club  was  formed,  to  drink  loyal 
healths ;  Lochiel,  as  ever,  was 
"ready,  aye  ready,"  but  his  sword 
and  Murray's  brain  were  the  only 
practical  things  to  the  credit  side 
of  Jacobitism  in  Scotland. 

While,  in  1740-45,  Scottish 
Jacobitism  was  thus  divided,  in 
England  the  chiefs — Barriemore, 
Orrery,  Beaufort,  Cobham,  Cotton, 
Sir  Watkin  Williams  Wynne  — 
were  merely  "  hedging."  They 
would  not  stir  without  a  large 
French  auxiliary  force.  France 
would  not  give  this  aid  without 
their  signatures.  These  they  never 
penned,  but  sent  over  the  one- 
eyed  slovenly  Clancarty  to  repre- 
sent them.  D'Argenson  laughed 
at  the  envoy.  Meanwhile  Carte, 
the  historian,  Colonel  Cecil,  and 
"  Queen  Oglethorpe"  of  the  old 
far  -  off  days,  the  ex  -  mistress  of 
Harley,  conspired  more  boldly  on 
their  own  account.  Balhaldy  went 
back  and  forward,  sowing  false 
hopes.  Murray  went  back  and 
forward,  countermining  Balhaldy. 
In  a  meeting  with  Charles,  behind 
the  stables  of  the  Tuileries,  and 


in  a  copious  Memorial,  Murray 
convicted  Balhaldy  of  possessing, 
in  excess,  the  Celtic  plausibility, 
and  other  less  engaging  qualities, 
of  John  Splendid  in  Mr  Neil 
Munro's  romance.  At  Rome, 
James  regretted,  but  could  neither 
understand  nor  end,  these  tra- 
casseries. 

Thus  affairs  moved,  or  stood 
still,  between  the  storm  -  stayed 
futile  French  expedition  early  in 
1744  and  Murray's  visit  to  Charles 
at  the  Tuileries  stables  later  in 
the  same  year.  On  this  occa- 
sion the  Prince  assured  Murray 
that  he  would  come,  in  the  sum- 
mer of  1745,  if  he  came  with  a 
single  servant.  Murray  had  seen 
the  astute  side  of  Charles  when 
he  unmasked  Balhaldy  :  "  Most 
would  have  flown  out  into  a  pas- 
sionate and  high  resentment,  with- 
out regard  to  anything  but  their 
grandeur  and  the  indignity  thrown 
on  it,  whereas  here  is  one  of 
23  or  24  years  of  age,  never  ac- 
customed to  controul,  acting  with 
as  much  coolness,  caution,  and 
circumspection  as  the  most  ex- 
perienced statesman."  On  dis- 
covering Charles's  adventurous 
side — his  resolution  to  come  alone 
—  Murray  answered,  "  that  he 
could  not  come  sooner  to  Scot- 
land than  would  be  agreeable  to 
his  friends  there,  but  I  hoped  it 
would  not  be  without  a  body  of 
troops."  This  warning  did  not 
prevent  Charles  from  carrying  out 
his  resolve  in  the  summer  of  1745, 
nor  prevent  Murray  from  being 
accused  of  bringing  him. 

The  Prince,  for  eighteen  months, 
had  "  languished,"  as  he  says,  in 
France,  in  an  obscure  incognito. 
Summoned  thither  by  Louis,  he 
had  been  "scandalously"  neglected, 
as  even  his  patient  father  declares. 
He  therefore,  after  Fontenoy  and 
the  English  defeat,  put  all  to  the 
hazard.  With  a  distracted  party, 


Murray  of  Broughton. 


[Aug. 


surrounded  by  men  like  Balhaldy, 
whom  he  could  not  trust,  and  Irish 
like  Sullivan,  old  Sir  Thomas  Sheri- 
dan, and  Kelly  (long  accustomed  to 
desperate  courses),  Charles  deter- 
mined to  force  France  into  aiding 
him,  to  force  the  Jacobites  into 
showing  their  hand.  This  resolu- 
tion he  announced  in  August  1744, 
and  Murray  went  back  to  Scot- 
land. 

He  found  Traquair,  Appin, 
Young  Glengarry  (just  arrived 
from  France),  Lochiel,  and  Mac- 
leod  in  a  tavern,  where  Macleod 
"  called  for  a  large  glass  and  drank 
a  bumper  to  Prince  Charles." 
Next  day  Lochiel,  by  Murray's 
desire,  extracted  a  written  promise 
from  Macleod.  We  know  how  he 
kept  it.  His  men,  under  the 
Black  Cockade,  were  routed  at 
Inverary,  and  again  by  the  Black- 
smith of  Moy,  in  an  attempt  to 
surprise  and  capture  the  Prince. 
"  No  man  will  be  at  a  loss  to 
determine,"  writes  Murray,  "  who 
ought  most  justly  to  be  branded 
with  the  names  of  Coward  and 
Traitor."  "  Surely  never  man  had 
more  reason  to  believe  than  the 
Prince ;  nor  did  ever  man  so 
basely  betray  as  did  Macleod, 
whom  I  shall  leave  for  the  pre- 
sent to  the  racks  and  tortures  of  a 
guilty  conscience,  and  the  just  and 
severe  Judgement  of  every  good 
man." 

Thus  the  moral  Murray. 

Of  that  little  party  in  the  Edin- 
burgh tavern,  Traquair  paltered 
and  skulked,  Macleod  basely  turned 
his  coat,  Appin  stayed  at  home, 
Glengarry  became  a  paid  In- 
former, and  Murray  was  Murray 
of  Broughton  !  Lochiel  alone  was 
sans  peur  et  sans  reproche. 

Murray  now  took  legal  opinion 
as  to  the  possibility  of  securing 
his  estate  to  his  children.  The 
lawyer,  Mr  Macleod  of  Nuik, 
decided  that  "  no  deed  of  con- 


veyance could  be  framed  to  evade 
a  forfeiture."  The  Glengarrys 
tried  the  plan  in  1745  ;  but  Young 
Glengarry  secured  himself  and  his 
lands  by  a  simpler  device. 

Traquair  was  now,  early  in 
1745,  sent  to  carry  to  Charles  an 
explicit  account  of  the  situation, 
to  warn  him  against  coming  un- 
aided, and  to  wring  something 
coherent  out  of  the  English. 
Meanwhile  Murray  tried  to  raise 
money.  The  Duke  of  Hamilton 
(who  married  the  beautiful  Eliza- 
beth Gunning)  was  a  reluctant, 
the  chivalrous  Duke  of  Perth 
was  a  cheerful,  giver.  Hamilton 
promised  to  join  with  such  forces 
as  he  could  raise ;  but  since 
Hamiltons  were  Hamiltons,  they 
never  were  whole-hearted  in  the 
Cause.  Time  passed,  and,  strangely, 
no  news  came  from  Traquair. 
Perth,  Murray,  Lochiel,  and 
Nisbet  of  Dirleton  wrote  to 
Charles  advising  him  in  no  case  to 
land  without  6000  French.  Then 
came  back  all  the  correspondence 
intrusted,  months  ago,  to  Traquair 
for  the  Prince.  Traquair  had 
neither  carried  nor  sent  it  to  its 
destination.  Charles,  in  France, 
was  in  the  dark  ;  in  Scotland  the 
party  knew  nothing  of  Charles. 
The  pressing  point  was  that  he 
should  not  land  alone,  and  a  letter 
to  that  effect,  with  other  papers, 
was  given  to  Young  Glengarry, 
for  Charles.  Glengarry  did  not 
succeed  in  delivering  these 
despatches,  and  meanwhile  (June 
1745)  a  note  from  the  Prince 
arrived,  announcing  his  resolve 
to  land  alone  in  the  West  High- 
lands. This  was  the  result  of 
Traquair's  non- delivery  of  the 
warning  with  which  he  was 
charged.  Murray,  much  con- 
cerned, communicated  with 
Lochiel  and  Lord  Ogilvy,  while 
Sir  Hector  Maclean,  who  had 
ventured  over  from  France,  was 


1898.] 


Murray  of  Broughton. 


225 


laid  in  prison.  This  deprived  the 
Cause  of  many  Macleans,  and  of 
Macleod's  following,  for  Sir  Hector 
meant  to  pistol  Macleod  if  he  did 
not  turn  out,  —  "an  alternative 
9  which  I  fancy  the  other  would  not 
have  chosen." 

After  giving  the  Duke  of  Ham- 
ilton his  commission,  which  the 
Duke  accepted,  Murray  hurried 
to  the  Highlands,  to  Lochiel,  who 
"  acknowledged  he  did  not  see  how 
any  man  of  honour  could  get  off, 
especially  as  the  Prince  was  to 
throw  himself  naked  into  their 
arms.  So,  for  his  own  part,  he 
would  not  delay  one  moment  to 
give  him  all  the  assistance  in  his 
power."  But  Lovat,  in  a  rage, 
said  that  the  Prince  "should  not 
be  allowed  to  land,"  and  Macleod 
proposed  to  write  a  letter  dissuad- 
ing him. 

Here  Murray's  MS.  breaks  off, 
where  Lochiel  expresses  his  gener- 
ous but  misplaced  confidence  in 
Lovat  and  Macleod,  and  Murray 
is  meeting  Cluny  at  an  inn  in 
Badenoch. 

A  party,  it  is  plain,  could  not 
have  been  less  prepared  for  a 
gallant  adventure.  For  months 
at  a  time  the  Prince  and  his 
friends  heard  nothing  of  each 
other.  There  was  not  £10,000 
in  the  Treasury.  Murray  had 
provided  some  weapons ;  but  Bal- 
haldy  never  bought  the  20,000 
stand  of  arms  which  he  said  that 
he  had  purchased  in  Holland. 
Nobody  in  Scotland  knew  any- 
thing about  the  English  party. 
In  France,  Sempil  and  Balhaldy 
hated  the  forward  movement  which 
they  had  not  initiated.  The  Earl 
Marischal  "pleaged"  the  Prince 
"with  his  letters,  which  were 
reather  Books,  and  I  had  the 
petience  to  answer  them,  article 
by  article,  striving  to  make  him 
act  reasonably,  but  all  to  no  pur- 
pose." Charles  was  pawning  his 


jewels,  the  Sobieski  rubies,  "for 
on  this  side  the  water  the  Prince 
would  wear  them  with  a  very  sore 
heart,  thinking  that  there  might 
be  made  a  better  use  of  them." 

We  should  not  judge  the  Prince's 
adventure  as  if  it  were  a  mere 
selfish  leap  "  to  pluck  bright 
honour  from  the  pale-faced  moon." 
He  was  bred  to  belief  in  the 
Cause ;  he  had  worked  for  it, 
doing  a  clerk's  duty  to  save  the 
labour  of  his  aged  tutor,  Sheridan. 
He  had  waited  for  it,  enduring 
patiently  the  "  scandalous  "  treat- 
ment of  the  French  Court.  He 
spent  what  he  had,  and  hazarded 
his  life  for  the  Cause,  and  to  force 
the  hand  of  France.  Neither 
Louis  nor  James  knew  of  his 
secret  setting  forth.  The  Earl 
Marischal  knew,  and  accepted 
Charles's  commands  to  represent 
his  case  to  Louis.  The  Prince 
threw  himself  on  the  honour  of 
his  adherents  :  if  they  had  ener- 
getically and  decisively  forbidden 
the  step,  there  would  have  been 
no  Culloden.  If  they  had  all  been 
Lochiels,  if  Beaufort  had  risen  in 
the  west,  Sir  Watkin  in  Wales, 
Norfolk  in  the  Midlands  (he  had 
arms  concealed  at  Worksop),  if 
Hamilton,  Traquair,  Nithsdale, 
and  Kenmure  had  been  true  to 
their  words,  if  Macleod  had 
brought  down  the  islesmen,  if 
Lovat  had  let  slip  the  Frazers, 
the  name  of  Charles  III.  might 
stand,  for  good  or  evil,  where 
stands  that  of  the  third  George. 
But  all  men  were  not  Lochiels. 
Dis  aliter  visum. 

The  second  part  of  Murray's 
Memorials  deals  with  events  be- 
tween Moidart  and  Derby.  While 
the  clans  were  preparing,  after  the 
Prince  landed,  Murray  did  an 
astute  thing.  He  sent  James 
Mohr  Macgregor  (who  had  secretly 
been  a  Hanoverian  agent)  to  ask 
for  parties  from  the  English  garri- 


226 


Murray  of  Broughton. 


[Aug. 


sons  of  the  Highland  forts,  that 
with  them  he  might  seize  Lochiel 
and  Glengarry.  The  Highlanders 
would  then  easily  capture  the 
deserted  forts.  Murray  also  con- 
cocted a  scheme  for  kidnapping 
the  Duke  of  Argyll.  James  Mohr 
doubtless  performed  his  errand  in 
his  own  way.  He  was  to  say  that 
Charles  was  incognito  at  St  Omer. 
Perhaps  he  did  give  that  mis- 
leading intelligence,  which  then 
caused  a  lack  of  energy  on  Cope's 
side. 

As  to  the  military  events  which 
followed,  Murray  justly  commends 
Charles's  generalship  in  declining 
to  divide  his  force,  and  send  troops 
after  Cope  by  hill  passes,  when 
Cope  avoided  battle  and  marched 
on  Inverness  from  Corryarrick. 
The  chiefs  and  clans  were  anxious 
for  this,  but  Charles  won  them 
to  his  better  opinion.  Murray's 
strategic  remarks  appear  judici- 
ous: he  himself  desired  the  post 
of  aide-de-camp,  not  of  secretary. 
Unluckily  for  him,  he  was  dis- 
appointed ;  but  he  was  almost  the 
only  man  fit  for  his  office. 

Living  on  beef  broiled  on  the 
heather,  without  meal  or  salt,  the 
clans  swept  southwards,  to  be 
joined  by  Lord  George  Murray, 
the  Gasks,  and  the  high-souled 
Duke  of  Perth,  to  whose  character 
we  shall  return.  To  hasten  on, 
at  Prestonpans  the  old  dispute 
about  precedency,  the  right  hand 
of  the  line  of  battle,  was  decided 
by  casting  lots.  The  Macdonalds 
drew  the  left,  the  Camerons  and 
Stewarts  drew  the  right.  But, 
at  Duddingstone,  the  Macdonalds, 
who  were  led  by  a  boy,  Glen- 
garry's second  son,  refused  to 
accept  the  arbitrament  of  chance. 
Lochiel  generously  yielded  the 
point,  if  the  battle  was  to  be 
fought,  as  fought  it  was,  on  the 
morrow.  After  the  fight  Charles 
took  all  possible  care  of  the 


wounded  English,  even  to  the 
neglect  of  his  own  men.  Their 
wounds  were  from  gunshots  ;  those 
of  the  English  from  cold  steel. 

The  Prince  has  been  blamed  for 
not  marching  on  Berwick.  Had  he 
done  so,  he  could  not  have  kept 
open  his  communications  with 
Edinburgh,  which  was  exposed 
to  English  reinforcements  from 
the  sea.  He  had  but  2700  men, 
and  could  not  have  invaded  Eng- 
land ;  but  was  obliged  to  wait  for 
Macleods  and  Frazers  who  came 
not,  and  for  detachments  of  other 
clans,  and  Lowlanders,  who  did 
come.  Nithsdale  and  Kenmure 
actually  arrived  at  Holyrood,  but 
lost  heart  and  went  home,  where 
Nithsdale  went  crazed  with  fright. 
Disappointed  in  Lovat  and  Mac- 
leod,  Charles,  after  a  weary  wait 
at  Edinburgh,  wished  to  attack 
Wade  at  Newcastle.  Lord  George 
Murray  preferred  the  route  by 
Carlisle,  as  Cumberland  and  Lan- 
cashire were  expected  to  rise. 
Charles  yielded,  and  invented  the 
very  dexterous  feint  of  a  march  on 
Carlisle  by  two  different  routes, 
by  Kelso  and  by  Peebles.  It 
seems  clear  that  the  Prince,  de- 
spite the  Chevalier  Johnstone, 
had  good  ideas  of  strategy.  "  Per- 
haps never  was  general,  especially 
a  Prince,  so  minutely  assiduous  to 
see  even  the  most  minute  motion 
with  his  own  eye,  never  neglect- 
ing, throughout  the  whole  march, 
so  soon  as  he  had  put  all  in  motion, 
to  return  and  view  the  whole 
column,  after  which  he  repaired 
again  to  the  front,  and  from  time 
to  time,  as  he  judged  necessary, 
viewed  the  whole,  and  prevented 
them  from  straggling." 

At  Carlisle,  as  is  well  known, 
trouble  arose  out  of  Lord  George 
Murray's  jealousy  both  of  Murray 
and  the  Duke  of  Perth.  Both 
submitted  to  Lord  George's  pre- 
tensions. 


1898.] 


Murray  of  JBroughton. 


227 


The  jealousies  between  Lord 
George  and  Broughton  were  in- 
jurious to  the  adventure.  Maxwell 
of  Kirkconnell,  who  made  the 
campaign,  wrote  his  '  Expedition 
of  Charles,  Prince  of  Wales,  to 
Scotland,'  after  Murray's  treachery 
was  well  known.  He  represents 
the  Secretary  as  having  at  first 
"  advised  the  Prince,  in  his  own 
name,  to  come  to  Scotland  at  any 
rate.  He  was  too  easily  persuaded 
by  Murray."  Now  Murray  cer- 
tainly did  not  suggest  the  scheme. 
When  Charles  proposed  it,  Murray 
demurred,  saying  that  only  some 
adherents  would  certainly  rise, 
with  perhaps  4000  men.  He  later 
made  several  attempts,  all  frus- 
trated, to  prevent  the  Prince's 
arrival ;  but,  when  the  Prince  did 
arrive,  he  agreed  with  Lochiel— 
men  of  honour  must  rally  to  the 
standard.  Maxwell,  naturally  pre- 
judiced against  Murray,  expresses 
the  common  jealousy  of  his  favour 
with  the  Prince.  Perth,  he 
admits,  "entertained  the  highest 
opinion  of  Murray's  integrity." 
But  Murray,  when  Lord  George 
came  in  at  Perth,  "  began  by 
representing  him  as  a  traitor  to 
the  Prince :  he  assured  him  that 
he  joined  on  purpose  to  have  an 
opportunity  of  delivering  him  up 
to  Government."  Now,  first,  if 
Lord  George  was  loyal  to  Charles 
(as  he  was),  his  conduct  as  regard- 
ed the  Government  was  very  far 
from  being  strictly  honourable. 
When  Cope  was  marching  North, 
in  August  1745,  Lord  George 
waited  on  him  at  Crieff,  as  a  loyal 
subject  of  the  Hanoverian  Govern- 
ment.1 Lord  George  was  playing 
false  to  somebody,  and  Murray 
could  not  be  sure  as  to  who  was 
being  betrayed.  Charles  remained 
in  doubt  till  after  Prestonpans, 
when  what  Maxwell  calls  Lord 


George's  "  haughty  and  overbear- 
ing manner  prevented  a  thorough 
reconciliation."  Next  came  a 
strange  piece  of  gossip,  only  recent- 
ly made  known.  In  Cumberland 
a  Highlander,  quarrelling  with  a 
passer-by,  seized  the  man's  stick. 
It  broke,  and  displayed  a  hidden 
letter,  in  which  Murray's  brother, 
the  Whig  Duke  of  Athol,  advised 
him  to  desert,  with  his  clansmen, 
to  the  English  !  So  ran  the  talk 
of  the  camp.  Lord  George  was 
perfectly  loyal  in  heart  to  Charles, 
but  overrode  the  Prince's  plans  : 
he  counselled  the  retreat  from 
Derby,  the  retreat  from  Stirling ; 
he  abandoned  the  surprise  at  Nairn. 
After  Culloden  the  suspicions  of 
Charles  revived,  encouraged,  pro- 
bably, by  Sullivan  and  Sheridan. 
He  fled  from  suspected  treachery 
to  the  Isles,  and  Barisdale,  in  fact, 
would  confessedly  have  sold  him, 
granted  the  opportunity. 

Murray  does  not  attack  Lord 
George  in  his  Memorials :  he  had 
doubtless  learned  that  his  early 
suspicions,  if  he  entertained  them 
(as  Maxwell  avers),  were  baseless. 
Murray,  in  fact,  was,  and  at  heart 
remained,  loyal ;  but  the  fear  of 
death  overcame  his  virtue.  None 
the  less,  between  him  and  Lord 
George  there  existed  a  fatal  and 
irreconcilable  jealousy.  Murray's 
manuscript  breaks  off  with  the 
advance  from  Leek  to  Derby. 
He  does  not  describe  the  council 
which  decided  on  retreat,  nor  any 
events  till  after  Culloden.  He  fell 
ill,  as  did  the  Prince,  at  Elgin, 
where  Charles  was  nursed  by  a 
lady  connected  with  a  relation  of 
the  present  writer.  Murray  was 
carried  to  the  house  of  Mrs  Grant 
of  Glenmoriston  ;  and  Maxwell  ad- 
mits that,  after  his  departure, 
everything  was  mismanaged  fat- 
ally. At  Glenmoriston,  Murray 


1  Cope  to  Forbes  of  Culloden,  August  24,  1745. 


228 


Murray  of  Broughton. 


[Aug. 


heard  of  Culloden  from  Dr 
Cameron.  He  does  not  describe 
the  battle.  His  next  manuscript 
narrates  his  adventures  after  Cul- 
loden. They  include  the  landing 
and  burial  of  27,000  louis  d'or, 
the  treasure  which  turned  rival 
clans  into  rival  traitors.  Murray 
also  describes  the  last  effort  at  a 
rally,  and,  chiefly  on  Barisdale's 
evidence,  he  suspects  the  brave 
and  loyal  Lochgarry  of  treachery 
on  that  occasion.  He  was  pro- 
bably innocent, — not  so  his  cousin 
Barisdale. 

In  great  weakness  and  dis- 
tress, Murray,  having  arranged 
that  a  ship  on  the  East  coast 
should  carry  off  himself  and 
Lochiel,  wandered  to  his  own 
country,  was  arrested,  was  inter- 
viewed by  the  Lord  Justice-Clerk, 
and  at  once,  without  hesitation, 
promised  to  reveal  "  all  he  knew." 

Murray's  Memorials  are  a  series 
of  apologies  for  his  behaviour.  He 
was,  in  fact,  really  trying  his  best 
to  save  his  own  head,  by  giving 
information  which  seemed  sincere, 
and  was,  as  far  as  he  could  make 
it,  worthless.  Thus  he  certainly 
did  give  "  an  uncertain  triffling 
relation"  about  Lovat's  early  move- 
ments. Herehefurnishesthe  actual 
facts.  Again,  the  Ministry,  having 
intercepted  a  letter  of  Balhaldy's, 
knew  about  Beaufort  (whom  Murray 
sheltered),  Barrymore,  Sir  Watkin, 
and  Dr  Barry.  Murray  says  : — 

"Upon  perusing  Lord  Lovat's 
Tryal,  it  will  incontestably  appear, 
upon  comparing  what  I  said  there 
with  what  here  follows,  that  the 
utmost  care  was  taken  to  conceal 
everything  that  was  not  known  by 
Lord  Lovat's  own  letters,  of  which 
he  was  so  sensible,  that  he  sent  me 
thanks  by  Mr  Fowler,  the  gentle- 
man gaoler  of  the  Tower,  for  my  for- 
bearance ;  and  said  he  was  not  the 


least  hurt  or  offended  by  anything 
I  had  said.  Mrs  Fowler  and  her 
daughter  are  still  ready  to  attest  this, 
and  have  told  it  to  many." 

Thus  Murray  consoles  himself 
with  the  attempt  to  believe  that  * 
he  only  deceived  the  Government 
with  "  triffles "  and  superfluous 
evidence.  But  he  did  his  best  to 
hang  Dr  Barry,  Traquair,  and  Sir 
John  Douglas,  who  only  escaped 
for  lack  of  corroboration,  or  be- 
cause Traquair  and  Barry  were  so 
impotent  as  conspirators.  Murray 
also  described  the  whereabouts  of 
the  Loch  Arkaig  treasure,  and  he 
sent  in  exactly  such  an  account 
of  the  Clans  as  is  found  in  the 
Whig  manuscript  published  as 
'  The  Highlands  in  1750.' 

What  Murray  does  not  tell  us 
is  that  (in  Jacobite  belief)  he  was, 
after  his  release,  the  correspondent 
of  Samuel  Cameron  of  the  Glen 
Nevis  family,  the  spy,  as  young 
Edgar  informs  his  uncle,  James's 
secretary.  "What  surprises  peo- 
ple still  more  is  that  Mr  Mac- 
donald  of  Glengarrie  [Pickle  the 
Spy],  who  says  that  he  is  charged 
with  the  affairs  of  his  Majesty,  is 
known  to  be  in  great  intimacy 
with  Murray"— in  1751. l 

Murray  himself  speaks  of  Glen- 
garry's visits  to  his  house  in 
London,  after  his  release.  The 
Cumberland  MSS.  leave  no 
doubt  that,  in  1751,  Glengarry 
was  already  an  informer.  Was 
Murray  his  accomplice,  or  only 
his  unconscious  tool  ?  It  is  quite 
possible  that,  deserted  and  de- 
tested, yet  a  Jacobite  at  heart, 
Murray  innocently  welcomed,  in 
1751,  the  visits  of  Glengarry,  as 
of  a  true-hearted  Highlander,  who 
knew  him  to  be  only  unfortunate 
— a  victim  of  appearances. 

This  view  of   his  own  conduct 


1  Anonymous  letter,  November  30,  1751.     'Pickle  the  Spy,'  p.  161. 


1898.] 


Murray  of  Broughton. 


229 


Murray  keeps  before  the  reader  in 
"  Two  Letters  regarding  the  Earl 
of  Traquair."  These  profess  to 
come  from  another  hand,  but  are 
by  Broughton.  Murray's  argu- 
ment is  that,  in  his  evidence,  he 
only  tried  to  expose  Traquair  in 
the  eyes  of  the  world,  while,  as 
regards  the  law,  he  "  industriously 
studied  to  leave  him  a  back-door 
whereby  to  escape."  After  both 
men  were  released,  Murray  chal- 
lenged Traquair,  and  prowled 
about  behind  Montague  House 
with  cloak  and  sword.  Traquair 
did  not  gratify  Broughton  with 
the  chance  of  recovering  his  self- 
respect. 

The  Memorials  leave  no  doubt 
as  to  Murray's  character.  Un- 
deniably he  was  a  clear-headed, 
energetic,  and  loyal  friend  of  the 
Cause — the  brain  of  the  party  in 
Scotland.  In  despair,  and  wea- 
kened by  long  privation  and  sick- 
ness, he  sold  his  honour — Murray 
had  a  very  keen  sense  of  honour  ! 
While  doing  his  best  to  dam- 
age half  -  hearted  adherents,  he 
really  did  try  to  "hedge"  in  the 
case  of  Lovat,  so  that  his  evidence 
should  not  be  fatal.  He  cut  mat- 
ters much  too  fine,  and  irretriev- 
ably ruined  his  own  reputation. 
Such  was  John  Murray  of  Brough- 
ton ;  and  so  sincere  was  his  affec- 
tion for  his  master,  that  the 
strange  family  tradition  may  be 
true.  Charles  is  said  to  have 
visited  London,  and  to  have  been 
introduced  by  Murray  as  "your 
King"  to  the  grandfather  of  Mr 
George  Siddons  Murray,  then  a 
little  boy.  This  must  have  been, 
not  in  1763,  but  after  1766,  when 
Charles  became,  by  his  father's 
death,  the  titular  king. 

In  1764  Murray  sold  Broughton, 
and  Mr  Scott  threw  out  of  win- 
dow the  cup  from  which,  by  Mrs 
Scott's  hospitality,  the  traitor  had 
drunk  tea.  He  is  said  to  have 


died  at  Cheshunt,  on  December  6, 
1777,  and  legend  runs  that  he  died 
insane. 

Murray  had  intended  to  write 
"  Characters "  of  his  associates. 
These  he  usually  omits,  with  a 
note  announcing  that  they  are  to 
follow.  That  of  the  Prince,  as 
discreet,  clement  to  a  fault,  and 
strategically  skilled,  comes  out  in 
many  pages.  "I  must  confine 
myself  to  say,  Happy  that  nation, 
peculiarly  happy  the  country,  which 
could  enjoy  such  a  Prince,  such  a 
Father!"  Old  Glengarry  is  "an  in- 
dolent creature,  and  entirely  given 
up  to  drink.  Could  his  son  [Pickle], 
now  prisoner  in  the  Tower,  be 
prevailed  on  to  quit  the  service  he 
is  in  "  (that  of  France),  "  it  would 
prove  an  effectual  mode  to  civilise 
that  Clan.  He  has  been  most 
barbarously  used  by  his  father 
and  mother-in-law,  and  probably 
engaged  more  from  necessity  than 
inclination." 

In  fact,  early  in  1745,  old 
Glengarry  had  surreptitiously 
disponed  his  lands  to  young  Glen- 
garry, without  the  stepmother's 
knowledge.  She  was  lady  factor 
of  the  estates,  and  the  secret 
device  later  caused  great  trouble 
to  Alastair  Ruadh. 

Lochiel  invariably  appears  as  a 
man  of  strict  honour.  Perth  was 
"full  of  disinterestedness,  of  un- 
daunted courage,  the  most  ex- 
emplary, humanely,  and  univer- 
sally beloved.  In  short,  never  was 
man  possessed  of  more  shining 
qualities,  nor  attended  with  worse 
fortune."  Macdonald  of  Sleat  is 
defended,  as  never  having,  like 
Macleod  and  Hamilton,  come 
under  definite  promises.  The 
virtues  of  the  Earl  Marischal 
are  attested,  though  Balhaldy 
styled  him  "an  honourable  fool,  a 
wrong-headed  man,  not  to  be  con- 
tented." In  truth  the  good  Earl, 
a  philosophe,  a  humorist,  and  a 


230 


To  Clarissa.  [Aug. 


Jacobite  from  republican  prin- 
ciples, was  not  very  easy  to  please. 
Elcho  is  well  spoken  of, — better, 
perhaps,  than  he  deserved.  Loch- 
garry  and  Barhdale  pair  off  as  a 
couple  of  thieves  and  traitors, 
which  is  hard  on  Lochgarry,  whom 
Murray,  by  the  way,  prevented 
from  waylaying  and  shooting  the 
Duke  of  Cumberland. 

On  one  point  we  regard  the 
charges  against  Murray  as  base- 
less. "  It  is  more  than  probable 
that  the  Prince's  principal  steward 
was  a  thief,"  says  Maxwell  of  Kirk- 
connell.  For  this  accusation  there 
is  not  the  slightest  ground  in  fact. 
When  once  Murray  turned  King's 
evidence,  no  suspicion  seemed  too 


black.  Men  could  not  understand 
that  he  had  been  of  unstained 
loyalty  till  he  saw  the  gibbet 
before  his  eyes.  Had  Murray 
been  silent,  his  name  would  have 
shone  with  those  of  Gask,  Pitsligo, 
and  Lochiel.  He  bought,  instead, 
thirty  years  of  what  may  literally 
be  called  hell  upon  earth — thirty 
years  of  loathed  seclusion,  of 
impotent  efforts  to  palliate  his 
infamy,  and  an  immortality  of 
shame.  He  sinned  from  fear  of 
death,  not  from  love  of  lucre. 
There  were  many  worse  men  in 
the  Jacobite  party  ;  but  there  was 
none  so  wretched  as  John  Murray 
of  Broughton. 

A.  LANG. 


TO     CLA1USSA. 

A  BUTTERFLY  of  rose-lit  June 
That  flits  from  flower  to  flower, 

And  takes  the  honey  of  the  noon, 
And  lords  it  for  an  hour, — 

It  flashes  in  the  summer  sun, 

It  floats  upon  the  wind, 
And  when  its  minute  sands  have  run, 

Leaves  not  a  trace  behind, — 


So  broke  Clarissa  on  my  way, 

So  did  Clarissa  fly ; 
But  ever  since  our  holiday 

Another  man  am  I. 


1898.] 


Smollett  and  the  old  Sea-Dogs, 


231 


SMOLLETT    AND    THE    OLD    SEA-DOGS. 


WE  are  not  to  be  called  upon  to 
swear  by  the  truth  of  a  song,  or  of 
a  novel  either,  if  by  truth  is  meant 
accuracy  in  the  mere  matters  of 
fact,  which  belongs  to  him  who  is 
liable  to  have  nothing  else  to  call 
his  own,  the  diligent  student  of 
history.  The  poet,  or  novelist 
who  has  the  truth  of  the  spirit, 
need  not  envy  his  brother  writer, 
nor  be  deeply  disturbed  by  his 
criticism.  If,  to  come  to  the 
man  with  whom  we  are  concerned, 
Smollett  had  foreseen  that  one 
would  be  found  to  declare  him 
incapable  of  knowing  what  hap- 
pened at  Oarthagena,  because  he 
was  only  a  Loblolly  Boy,  his 
answer,  one  presumes,  would  have 
been  to  laugh,  somewhat  savagely 
in  his  fierce  youth,  and  with  con- 
temptuous good  nature  in  the 
mild  old  age  in  which  he  wrote 
'Humphrey  Clinker.'  His  busi- 
ness was  not  to  know  what 
Vernon  said  to  Wentworth  in  the 
cabin,  but  "  to  take  Portraiture 
of  English  Seamanhood  with  due 
grimness,  due  fidelity,  and  convey 
the  same  to  remote  generations, 
before  it  vanish."  The  question 
is,  Did  he  make  the  portrait,  or 
only  a  caricature  ? 

Not  the  worst  way,  surely,  of 
finding  an  answer  is  to  seek  what- 
ever there  may  be  to  confirm  or  to 
contradict  Smollett.  At  the  first 
blush  the  quest  may  appear  suffi- 
ciently hopeless,  since  he  stands 
alone  among  the  generally  known 
writers  of  the  eighteenth  century 
as  a  describer  of  the  sea  life. 
Once,  in  '  Jonathan  Wild/  Field- 
ing does  take  us  on  board  a  man- 
of-war;  but  the  episode  is  short, 
and  is  also  colourless.  It  is  ob- 
vious that  he  was  speaking  at 
second-hand  of  a  life  he  did  not 

VOL.  CLXIV. — NO.  DCCCCXCIV. 


know.  The  captain,  who  perse- 
cutes Mrs  Heartfree,  is  only  a 
brute,  not  a  brutal  seaman.  He 
might  well  have  been  a  loutish 
country  justice,  and  the  scene  a 
country  inn.  At  the  very  close  of 
his  life  Fielding  did  go  to  sea  as 
passenger  in  the  Lisbon  packet, 
which  in  those  days,  when  the 
voyage  began  in  the  Thames  and 
the  weather  happened  not  to  be 
favourable,  might  mean  an  experi- 
ence of  some  length.  Therefore 
in  the  'Voyage  to  Lisbon'  Fielding 
did  give  a  sketch  of  the  sailor  as 
he  saw  him  for  a  short  space,  and 
from  the  outside.  Brief  and  ne- 
cessarily superficial  as  the  study 
is,  it  shows  with  what  truth,  what 
humour,  and  what  justice  the  old 
Navy  might  have  been  pictured  for 
us  if  Fielding  had  sailed  to  the  West 
Indies  as  secretary  to  Sir  Chaloner 
Ogle,  which  he  well  might  had 
fate  been  more  kind  to  us  and  to 
the  fleet.  That,  however,  was  not 
to  be,  and  we  must  be  content 
with  the  little  we  can  get,  to  show 
how  far  Smollett  told  the  truth, 
and  how  far  he  exaggerated  for 
literary  effect.  In  literature  it  is 
indeed  all  but  nothing.  The  few 
contemporary  lives  of  our  seamen 
of  the  late  seventeenth  and  early 
eighteenth  centuries  are  among 
the  most  exasperating  pieces  of 
book -making  in  the  English  lan- 
guage, without  knowledge,  insight, 
or  style,  with  rare  exceptions. 
Indeed  it  may  safely  be  said  that 
there  are  but  two  which  deserve 
to  be  more  favourably  described, 
and  they  are  both  written  by  one 
man.  The  '  Life  of  Sir  John 
Leake,'  published  in  1750,  and  the 
'  Life  of  Captain  Stephen  Martin,' 
printed  in  1895  by  the  Navy  Re- 
cords Society,  are  certainly  not 
Q 


232 


Smollett  and  the  old  Sea-Dogs. 


[Aug. 


well  written,  but  they  are  honest 
compilations  from  good  sources. 
Stephen  Martin  Leake,  the  author 
of  both,  was  the  son  of  the  second 
of  these  officers,  who  were  old 
friends  and  had  married  sisters, 
had  the  necessary  official  papers 
for  the  life  of  the  admiral,  and 
if  he  could  not  make  a  biography 
out  of  them,  at  least  he  decanted 
them  honestly  into  his  pages ;  while 
his  life  of  his  father  shows  an  un- 
expected sense  of  humour.  The 
rest  are  of  the  stamp  of  the  catch- 
penny life  of  Vernon  in  which  the 
strongly  marked  character  of  "Old 
Grog  " — none  of  your  perfect  men, 
who  are  a  limited,  uninteresting 
sort — is  reduced  to  the  colourless 
figure  of  a  conventional  and  ab- 
stract "great  officer,"  and  that 
drawn  by  a  most  unhappy  dauber. 
The  most  fortunate  of  Vernon's 
brother-officers  were  perhaps  those 
who  escaped  having  their  lives 
written  at  all.  Those  who  came 
in  contact  with  the  letter  and 
memoir  writers  of  the  great  so- 
ciety of  London  appear  to  have 
shrunk  within  themselves  in  this 
strange  world.  How  grey  and 
featureless,  for  instance,  is  the 
figure  of  Anson  in  the  memoirs 
of  Bubb  Dodington. 

Yet  there  is  commonly  more  to 
be  gleaned  in  the  most  barren 
field  than  one  hastily  supposes 
on  a  first  survey.  Smollett  was 
not  without  predecessors,  even  in 
what,  with  more  or  less  success, 
attempted  to  be  literature.  There 
was,  it  is  very  true,  little  enough, 
and  of  that  little  the  greater  part 
is  trash.  Such  a  piece  of  work, 
for  instance,  as  Ned  Ward's 
'  Wooden  World  Dissected '  may 
be  of  some  interest  to  the  stu- 
dents of  what  is  favourably  de- 
scribed as  "  racy  "  or  "  idiomatic  " 
English.  But  though  it  tells  us 
something  of  a  kind  of  so-called 
satirical  writing  which  came  down 


from  the  scolding  Elizabethan 
pamphlet,  and  was  blended  with 
the  kindred  Spanish  manner  of 
Quevedo  by  the  industry  of  Sir 
Roger  L' Estrange,  it  is  the  poorest 
of  evidence  as  to  the  sea,  or  any  , 
other  conceivable  form  of  human 
life.  Ned  Ward  wrote  for  such 
as  enjoyed  horseplay  with  words, 
and  he  supplied  them  to  their 
liking.  The  words  are  inevitably 
of  that  class  which  some  people 
suppose  to  possess  inherent  hu- 
mour, a  thing  by  them  under- 
stood to  be  bound  up  with  dirt. 
'  He  commonly  starts  with  some 
such  howl  of  indiscriminate  abuse 
as  this  piece  of  would-be  jocular- 
ity —  the  first  sentence  of  "  The 
Character  of  a  Sea  Captain " : 
"He's  a  Leviathan,  or  rather  a 
kind  of  Sea  God,  whom  the  poor 
Tars  worship  as  the  Indians  do  the 
Devil,  more  through  fear  than 
affection — nay,  some  will  have  it 
he's  more  a  Devil  than  the  Devil 
himself."  The  rest  is  in  the  same 
tone.  Ward  had  unquestionably 
heard  something  of  the  ways  of 
life  on  board  the  ships  of  the 
Navy,  enough  to  enable  him  to 
give  an  occasional  detail  to  vary 
his  commonplaces  of  satire.  He 
had,  and  would  have  had  if  he 
were  living  now  and  pursuing  his 
destiny  by  writing  for  the  gutter 
press,  authority  for  his  picture 
of  the  effect  produced  by  the 
appearance  of  the  Captain  on  the 
quarter-deck.  "  Upon  his  first 
popping  up,  the  Lieutenants  sheer 
off  to  the  other  side,  as  if  he  was 
a  Ghost  indeed ;  for  'tis  Impu- 
dence for  any  to  approach  him 
within  the  length  of  a  Boat-hook." 
If  Ward's  knowledge  had  been 
greater,  or  his  carelessness  less,  he 
would  have  said  to  the  port,  not 
the  other  side.  The  starboard 
side  of  the  quarter-deck  belongs 
to  the  captain,  and  he  walks 
there  alone,  unless  one  of  his 


1898.] 


Smollett  and  the  old  Sea-Dogs. 


233 


officers  is  with  him  on  duty  or  by 
invitation.  This  is  part  of  that 
necessary  etiquette  of  the  sea 
without  which  life  would  be  a 
perpetual  hustle  where  so  many 
are  crowded  into  so  small  a  space. 
So  the  senior  officer  present  gets 
into  a  boat  last,  and  out  of  it  first, 
the  others  going  in  their  order, 
for  if  it  were  not  so  there  would 
be  a  scramble.  There  was  once 
an  Irish  navy  doctor — a  good  fel- 
low and  a  gentleman  —  who  had 
not  been  long  enough  at  sea  to 
"learn  good  manners."  It  hap- 
pened that  he  was  going  ashore 
with  other  officers,  and  that  the 
first  lieutenant  was  of  the  party. 
All  were  in  the  boat  except  these 
two,  and  the  first  lieutenant  said, 

"Jump  in,  ."      "After  you, 

my  dear  man,"  said  the  doctor, 
with  prompt  politeness.  It  was 
much  as  if  a  royal  personage  had 
been  dismissed  from  an  interview ; 
but  the  senior  laughed,  and  it 
was  not  from  him  that  the  doctor 
learned  what  a  dreadful  solecism 
he  had  committed.  To  the  visitor 
from  the  shore  who  sees  its  work- 
ing for  the  first  time,  the  rule  of 
the  starboard  side — to  give  it  a 
name  —  has  an  odd  appearance. 
One  does  not  know  why  every- 
body swarms  over  to  port  when  a 
certain  cap  with  gold  on  the  peak 
emerges  through  a  hatchway.  It 
may  even  be  unpleasantly  en- 
forced. Thus  it  chanced  once  to 
me  to  be  a  guest  in  the  gunroom 
mess  of  a  ship  which  was  out  for 
target  practice.  I  was  walking 
with  the  paymaster,  both  of  us 
void  of  any  intention  of  offence, 
on  the  sacred  starboard  side,  when 
a  midshipman  came  up  with  a 
message  from  the  captain,  who 
was  on  deck,  though  not  on  the 
quarter-deck,  that  we  must  confine 
ourselves  to  the  port.  There  was 
a  plentiful  lack  of  humour  on  the 
part  of  that  officer,  and  no  suffici- 


ency of  politeness  ;  but  rules  there 
must  be,  or  else  a  man-of-war 
would  speedily  become  a  regular 
built  privateer. 

Ward  insists,  in  his  own  blaring 
style,  on  the  awful  distance  which 
the  captain  of  his  day  kept  between 
himself  and  his  subordinates.  Even 
now  the  commander  has  to  be  very 
solitary,  for  he  cannot  be  familiar 
with  all,  and  he  must  not  appear 
to  make  favourites.  This  digni- 
fied seclusion  was  carried  very  far 
by  some  commanders  in  the  eigh- 
teenth century.  There  is  a  story 
of  one  captain,  a  man  of  a  cheerful 
social  disposition,  who  nearly  went 
mad  in  the  solitary  existence  to 
which  he  condemned  himself,  from 
a  mere  sense  of  what  he  considered 
due  to  his  rank.  Some  did  actu- 
ally fall  into  folly,  and  what  can 
only  be  called  madness,  for  this 
very  reason.  It  is  not  good  for 
man  to  be  alone  even  on  the  star- 
board side  of  the  quarter  -  deck. 
But  for  the  lonely  days  of  brood- 
ing over  his  own  thoughts,  un- 
checked by  converse  with  equals, 
Vernon  might  probably  not  have 
drifted  into  the  act  of  insubordina- 
tion for  which  George  II.  struck 
him  off  the  list  of  the  Navy,  nor 
tyrant  captains  of  the  stamp  of 
Pigot  of  the  Hermione  and  Corbet 
of  the  Africaine  have  become 
unmitigated  brutes.  Bacon  has 
quoted  with  agreement  Comines' 
saying  that  the  extreme  secrecy 
of  Charles  the  Rash  did  a  little 
"perish  his  understanding."  Much 
both  of  the  comedy  and  the  tragedy 
of  the  sea-life  came  from  the  star- 
board side  of  the  quarter-deck;  but 
Ward  was  not  the  extractor  of 
quintessences  who  could  bring  out 
either.  Smollett,  though  he  draws 
in  swift  lines  and  without  develop- 
ment, shows  the  results  of  this  soli- 
tary exercise  of  power  on  a  coarse 
hard  man  in  his  portrait  of  Captain 
Oakum.  With  the  instinct  of  a 


234 


Smollett  and  the  old  Sea-Dogs. 


[Aug. 


true,  if  not  very  profound,  artist, 
he  adds  the  inevitable  accompany- 
ing figure  of  the  fawning  subordin- 
ate who  earwigs  the  gloomy  tyrant. 
'The  Wooden  World'  — dirty 
little  handful  of  scolding  and 
slang  that  it  is — belongs  to  1707. 
Three  years  later  a  much  better 
piece  of  work,  which  has  for  its 
subtitle  "  The  Humours  of  the 
Navy,"  appeared  at  Dublin.  This 
is  Oharles  Shadwell's  play,  "  The 
Fair  Quaker  of  Deal."  Very  little 
is  known  of  the  author,  who  was 
a  nephew  of  Thomas  Shadwell, 
and  appears  to  have  held  a  place 
in  the  Custom  House.  He  wrote 
other  plays,  including  one  on  the 
"Humours  of  the  Army,"  which 
is  not  wholly  unamusing.  They 
were  collected  in  two  volumes, 
printed  at  Dublin  for  "George 
Risk  and  Joseph  Leatheby  in 
Dames  Street,  and  Patrick  Dugan 
on  Cork  Hill,  Booksellers,"  in 
1720.  None  of  his  plays  appear 
to  have  achieved  any  great  popu- 
larity except  "  The  Fair  Quaker." 
This  one,  however,  has  a  history. 
In  1773  Garrick  suggested  to  one 
of  the  literary  men  about  him 
that  the  play  would  be  worth 
reviving,  if  it  were  written  up 
to  the  naval  manners  of  the  day. 
The  great  manager  was  doubtless 
influenced  less  by  the  merit  of  the 
piece  than  by  the  fact  that  George 
III.  was  about  to  hold  a  naval 
review  at  Spithead,  and  that  some- 
thing about  the  fleet  would  proba- 
bly "draw."  The  artist  selected 
to  make  the  rifacimento  was  one 
of  whom  it  is  not  possible  to  speak 
with  much  respect  or  even  pa- 
tience. Captain  Edward  Thomp- 
son of  the  Navy,  commonly  called 
Poet  Thompson,  may  have  been 
a  competent  officer.  A  pamphlet 
of  his,  setting  forth  the  hard  case 
of  the  widows  of  naval  officers, 
shows  that  he  could  write  with 
good  sense  and  good  feeling  when 


he  liked.  Had  he  chosen  he  might 
well  have  left  us  a  valuable  pic- 
ture of  the  Navy  of  his  day.  Un- 
fortunately he  was  a  friend  and 
admirer  of  Churchill — a  consid- 
erable figure  in  the  literature  of 
the  middle  eighteenth  century, 
but  a  deplorable  model  for  a  man 
who  had  no  call  to  write  except 
his  knowledge  of  one  kind  of  life, 
and  some  natural  good  sense. 
Captain  Thompson,  mistaking  his 
taste  for  his  capacity,  would  be 
a  wit  and  a  satiric  poet,  in  spite 
of  Minerva.  Therefore,  what  we 
have  from  him,  apart  from  cer- 
tain details  of  interest  in  his  ri- 
facimento of  "The  Fair  Quaker," 
is  divided  between  two  small  vol- 
umes of  Letters  in  the  laboured 
sprightly  style,  the  most  intoler- 
able of  all,  and  a  handful  of  bad 
verse — very  dull  to  read,  and  oc- 
casionally hardly  decent  to  name. 
He  might  have  been  a  useful 
authority,  but  misguided  ambition 
made  him  an  imitative  scribbler. 

Yet  we  owe  him  something,  since 
the  changes  he  made  in  Shadwell's 
"  Fair  Quaker "  give  us  touches 
which,  in  the  dearth  of  our  know- 
ledge of  the  old  Navy,  are  not  to 
be  despised.  In  the  address  to  the 
reader  prefixed  to  the  new  version 
of  the  play,  Thompson  answers  for 
his  predecessor's  knowledge  of  the 
seafaring  world,  and  affirms  that 
the  types  drawn  by  Shadwell  still 
existed  in  his  own  day.  He  adds 
a  proviso  in  which  we  may  detect 
an  echo  of  the  conversation  in 
Garrick's  greenroom.  "  Dramatic 
characters  in  general  are  drawn 
extravagantly  strong  outre  et  par- 
dessus,  a  mediocrity  is  an  insipid 
and  insupportable  part  for  the 
best  actor ;  therefore  we  say,  that 
pictures  of  the  stage  are  rather 
caricatures  of  the  life  than  faithful 
copies  of  people  in  general."  Cap- 
tain Thompson  is  not  at  the  trouble 
to  reconcile  this  general  disclaimer 


1898.] 


Smollett  and  the  old  Sea-Dogs. 


235 


of  fidelity  with  his  guarantee  of 
the  truth  of  Shadwell's  figures, 
but  there  is  no  real  contradiction. 
If  the  author  had  taken  more 
trouble  he  might  have  explained 
that  Shadwell's  naval  dramatis 
personce  were  made  up  by  selecting 
what  was  most  telling  in  the 
"humours "of  the  tarpaulin,  and 
adapting  it  to  "  the  perspective  of 
the  stage."  The  process  is  no 
doubt  incompatible  with  telling 
the  whole  truth,  yet  it  can  be  used 
without  sinning  against  the  obliga- 
tion to  tell  nothing  but  the  truth. 
We  can  be  satisfied  to  know  that 
the  Navy  contained  men  who  said 
and  did  the  things  which  we  hear 
and  see,  somewhat  enlarged  and 
made  unduly  prominent,  but  not 
merely  falsified,  in  "  The  Fair 
Quaker."  Captain  Thompson  also 
says  that  the  play  had  been  re- 
vived on  several  occasions,  which 
strengthens  the  strong  internal 
evidence  that  it  was  known  to 
Smollett,  whose  '  Roderick  Ran- 
dom'appeared  in  1749.  He  had 
tried  writing  for  the  stage  himself, 
and  had  been  much  about  the 
theatres  at  a  time  when  there 
were  few.  A  popular  play  can 
hardly  have  escaped  his  notice. 

If  it  did  not  contain  its  studies 
of  the  Tar,  "The  Fair  Quaker" 
would  only  be  one  of  many  plays 
dealing  with  a  kind  of  action 
and  stage  situation  then  popular. 
Captain  Worthy  of  the  Navy  loves, 
and  is  beloved  by,  Dorcas  Zeal, 
"bred  a  Quaker,"  who  has  a 
sister  Arabella,  "bred  a  Church- 
woman."  Arabella  loves  Worthy, 
and  makes  him  a  burning  declara- 
tion, prefaced  by  a  touching  appeal 
that  he  will  "  spare  a  virgin's 
blushes."  Captain  Mizen  lays  a 
plot  to  carry  off  Dorcas.  He  is 
very  easy  as  to  the  result  of  the 
adventure,  because  if  he  becomes 
tired  of  the  young  woman  he  can 
always  throw  her  overboard  and 


say  she  was  destroyed  "in  a 
calenture."  Worthy  discovers  his 
brother  officer's  scheme,  and  coun- 
termines. Mizen  is  entrapped 
into  what  appears  to  be  such  a 
marriage  as  takes  place  in  Con- 
greve's  "  Old  Bachelor,"  and  other 
plays  innumerable.  It  is,  per- 
haps, a  proof  of  the  growing 
humanity  of  the  age  that  Mizen 
is  only  made  the  victim  of  a  prac- 
tical joke  as  a  warning  to  him, 
not  really  married.  All,  of  course, 
ends  happily.  There  is  the  usual 
man  about  town,  with  the  not 
unusual  name  of  Rovewell,  a 
woman  of  fortune,  Belinda,  and 
Scruple,  "  a  Corporation  Justice, 
a  canting  Hypocrite,"  nor  is  the 
always  popular  "  breeches  part " 
for  one  of  the  female  characters 
forgotten.  In  all  this  there  is 
much  of  the  stock  matter  of  the 
Restoration  comedy,  and  its  im- 
mediate successor.  The  interest 
of  "The  Fair  Quaker"  lies  in  the 
naval  characters. 

First  among  them  in  rank,  and 
probably  in  truth  to  life,  is  "Flip, 
the  commodore,  a  most  illiterate 
Wappineer  Tar,  hates  the  Gentle- 
men of  the  Navy,  gets  drunk  with 
his  Boat's  Crew,  and  values  him- 
self upon  the  Brutish  Manage- 
ment of  the  Navy."  Over  against 
him  stands  Mizen,  the  contriver 
of  the  plot  against  Dorcas,  "  a 
finical  Sea  -  Fop,  a  mighty  Re- 
former of  the  Navy,  keeps  a 
Visiting  Day,  and  is  Flip's  oppo- 
site." Worthy,  though  "a  Cap- 
tain of  the  Navy,  a  Gentleman 
of  Honour,  Sence,  and  Reputa- 
tion," is  a  lay-figure ;  but  there  is 
a  certain  vivacity  in  his  lieutenant, 
Sir  Charles  Pleasant,  "  a  man  of 
Quality " ;  in  Flip's  lieutenant, 
Cribbage  ;  in  Easy,  the  lieutenant 
of  marines;  and  Indent,  Flip's 
purser.  The  humour  of  it  lies  in 
the  collisions  between  Flip  and  his 
opposite,  in  whom  we  see  the  first 


236 


Smollett  and  the  old  Sea-Dogs. 


[Aug. 


sketch  of  the  Oaptain  Whiffle  of 
'  Roderick  Random.'  "  I  have 
served,"  says  Flip,  "  in  every  office 
belonging  to  a  Ship,  from  Cook's 
Boy  to  a  Commodore ;  and  have 
all  the  Sea  Jests  by  Heart  from 
the  forecastle  to  the  Great  Cabin ; 
and  I  love  a  Sailor."  Flip,  in 
short,  is  the  typical  Tarpaulin 
Captain,  who  is  seaman,  and 
nothing  else.  It  is  allowed  that 
he  is  brave ;  but  he  is  also  an 
unlicked  bear,  and  proud  of  it. 
When  addressed  as  "noble  com- 
modore "  by  Rovewell,  he  will 
have  none  of  the  title,  —  "  the 
best  commodores  that  ever  went 
between  two  ends  of  a  Ship 
had  not  a  drop  of  Nobility  in 
'em,  thank  Heaven."  This  is  a 
sentiment  which,  though  ex- 
pressed in  milder  terms,  has 
been  heard  in  the  Navy  since 
Queen  Anne's  day.  Mr  Saw- 
bridge,  the  first  lieutenant,  who 
found  Mr  Midshipman  Easy 
amusing  himself  at  the  Fountain 
Inn,  had  been  by  no  means 
pleased  at  learning  that  he  would 
have  a  country  gentleman's  son 
among  his  midshipmen.  After 
George  III.  raised  the  whole 
social  position  of  the  Navy  by 
giving  the  future  William  IV. 
"  a  cockpit  education,"  young 
men  of  family  began  to  join  the 
service  in  larger  numbers.  The 
invasion  increased  in  the  glorious 
days  at  the  end  of  the  last  and 
the  beginning  of  this  century, 
and  was  looked  at  with  an  un- 
friendly eye  by  men  who,  like 
Mr  Sawbridge,  had  been  com- 
pelled to  work  their  way  slowly 
up,  and  had  nothing  but  their 
pay.  Marryat  allows  that  the 
ill  -  will  of  the  first  lieutenant 
had  "  some  grounds,  as  he  per- 
ceived his  own  chance  of  pro- 
motion decrease  in  the  same  ratio 
as  the  numbers  increased"  —  of 
those  who  had  what  he  wanted, 


which  was  interest.  Flip  and 
Mr  Sawbridge,  who  stand  about 
a  century  apart  from  one  another, 
exemplify  the  change  which  had 
come  over  the  Navy.  The  first 
lieutenant  is  every  whit  as  much 
the  professional  seaman  as  the 
commodore,  and  shares  his  dislike 
of  nobility  on  shipboard ;  but  he 
is  a  gentleman.  He  may  "  love 
a  sailor,"  but  would  not  lay  him- 
self open  to  the  charge  Worthy 
brings  against  Flip  of  showing 
his  affection  by  getting  "drunk 
with  every  mess  in  the  ship  once 
a-week."  Flip,  be  it  observed, 
does  not  deny  the  truth  of  the 
accusation.  "Why,  that  makes 
the  Rogues  love  me :  my  Jocu- 
lousness  with  'em  makes  'em  fight 
for  me, — they  keep  me  out  of  a 
French  gaol."  In  a  later  scene 
he  is  found  boozing  with  his 
boat's  crew — some  of  whom  have 
been  messmates  of  his  when  he 
was  before  the  mast.  There  is 
no  pride  in  Flip.  He  goes  to 
the  Three  Mariners  Inn  because 
it  is  kept  by  his  old  friend  Cagg, 
who  was  boatswain's  mate  with 
him  when  he  was  serving  in  that 
rank.  In  Thompson's  rifacimento 
the  boozing  scene  of  Flip  and 
his  boat's  crew  disappears.  It 
had,  one  supposes,  become  too 
incredible  even  for  caricature  in 
1773,  and  is  replaced  by  another 
in  which  figures  a  new  character 
named  Binnacle.  Binnacle,  how- 
ever, is  of  the  very  slightest 
possible  interest,  and  was,  on 
Poet  Thompson's  own  showing, 
added  to  suit  the  "  natural 
humour "  of  Mr  Weston  the 
actor.  Flip,  we  are  told,  is  not 
only  dirty,  but  proud  of  his 
"  brutishness."  He  has  nothing 
better  to  answer  than  a  tirade 
against  "  a  Beau,"  an  animal 
more  ridiculous  than  a  monkey, 
when  Mizen  says  to  him,  "  Why, 
dear  Commodore,  do  you  think 


1898.J 


Smollett  and  the  old  Sea-Dogs. 


237 


because  we  gentlemen  put  on 
clean  shirts  every  Day  that  we 
can't  understand  the  affairs  of 
the  Navy  as  well  as  those  who 
wear  their  Shirts  till  they  are " 
— well,  very  exceedingly  foul. 

Thompson  assures  his  readers 
that  the  characters  of  "The  Fair 
Quaker  "were  "not  more  height- 
ened than  the  natural  picture  al- 
lowed of."  Was  Flip,  then,  nothing 
more  than  an  adaptation  to  the  per- 
spective of  the  stage  of  a  "natural 
picture  "  1  On  the  whole,  one  has  to 
come  to  the  conclusion  that  he  was. 
It  must  be  remembered  that  our 
practice  of  cutting  the  Navy  down 
to  the  quick  in  peace-time  often 
put  the  nation  in  no  small  difficulty 
to  find  officers  when  war  broke  out. 
The  Admiralty  was  compelled  to 
promote  men  from  before  the  mast 
because  it  must  have  officers,  and 
no  others  could  be  found  who  had 
the  necessary  seamanship,  and  had 
qualified  by  doing  the  needful  years 
of  service  in  a  king's  ship.  When 
Oochrane  first  went  to  sea  he  found 
one  Jack  Larmour  acting  as  first 
lieutenant.  Larmour  was  a  good 
fellow,  but  he  was  absolutely  noth- 
ing but  a  practical  seaman.  Coch- 
rane  says  that  he  was  continually 
employed  to  dry-nurse  young  gen- 
tlemen of  good  family  who  had  been 
promoted  by  interest  before  they 
knew  their  business.  Marryat  has 
drawn  the  portrait  of  a  man  of  this 
class  —  that  which  had  come  in 
through  the  hawse-hole — in  'The 
Naval  Officer.'  This  man  was  not  a 
good  fellow,  but  a  shocking  brute, 
and  no  doubt  he  had  an  original. 
Some  who  rose  in  this  way  came  to 
distinction.  Captain  Cook  is  the 
most  conspicuous  example.  But 
there  were,  no  doubt,  many  who 
might  well  have  sat  for  Flip.  In 
the  later  times  they  would  have 
refused  to  drink  with  their  boat's 
crews,  but  they  were  neither  the 
better  gentlemen  nor  the  better 


fellows  on  that  account.  At  the 
close  of  the  great  war  in  1815, 
there  was  a  process  called  "  pas- 
sing for  a  gentleman  "  imposed  on 
the  Navy.  All  who  could  not  pro- 
duce the  needful  credentials  were 
put  severely  on  half-pay.  Flip's 
dirty  habits  are  by  no  means  in- 
credible. There  was  a  very  famous 
admiral  who  held  a  high  command 
in  the  Crimean  war,  who  might 
well  have  been  open  to  Mizen's 
question — but  then,  to  be  sure,  he 
belonged  to  a  great  fighting  family 
which  was  traditionally  afraid  of 
nothing  but  cold  water.  So  late 
as  the  time  of  the  Syrian  war, 
1842,  there  were  members  of  the 
midshipman's  mess  of  line-of-battle 
ships,  who,  if  called  away  from 
their  liquor  on  duty,  would  spit 
into  their  rum-and-water  to  pre- 
vent others  from  drinking  it  in 
their  absence.  Perhaps  this  would 
have  been  an  insufficient  precaution 
in  the  reign  of  Queen  Anne,  and 
indicates  an  increase  of  delicacy  in 
naval  habits. 

There  was,  indeed,  an  officer 
among  the  contemporaries  of  the 
imaginary  Flip  who  might  well 
have  been  one  of  his  originals.  This 
was  Sir  John  Balchen,  Admiral 
of  the  White,  who  was  lost  at 
sea  by  foundering,  or  by  running 
on  the  Caskets,  in  1742,  while  on 
his  way  home  from  the  coast  of 
Spain.  Balchen  had  done  some 
very  stout  fighting  against  long 
odds,  commanded  by  such  formid- 
able opponents  as  Dugnay-Tronin 
and  Forbin-Jonson,  in  the  Queen 
Anne  wars.  As  he  was  of  birth 
so  obscure  that  his  origin  is  quite 
unknown,  he  may  even  have  begun 
as  "cook's  boy."  In  1716,  when 
at  the  Nore  on  his  return  from 
the  West  Indies,  whither  he  had 
gone  on  a  voyage  for  the  sup- 
pression of  piracy,  he  was  called 
in  question  for  some  very  high- 
handed proceedings  with  one 


238 


Smollett  and  the  old  Sea-  Dogs. 


[Aug. 


Bowen,  a  surveyor  of  customs  at 
Leigh.  He  has  himself  described 
the  scene  in  a  vindication  of  his 
conduct  written  to  the  Admiralty, 
and  it  really  requires  very  little 
heightening  to  be  quite  in  the  tone 
of  Shadwell  or  of  Smollett. 

Balchen  had  been  ashore,  and 
when  he  returned  to  his  ship 
found  the  surveyor  from  Leigh, 
with  two  of  his  friends,  sitting  on 
the  quarter-deck  in  company  with 
the  surgeon  and  sailing  -  master. 
They  were  discussing  a  small  bowl 
of  punch,  and  they  invited  the 
captain  to  join.  It  is  difficult  to 
conceive  of  the  emotions  of  an 
officer  in  command  of  one  of  her 
Majesty's  ships  and  vessels  of  war 
at  a  sight  of  such  a  festive  party 
in  1898,  or  to  figure  what  he 
would  look  and  say  when  invited 
"to  bouse  his  own  personal  jib." 
Balchen  saw  nothing  irregular, 
and  fell  into  talk  with  the  party. 
He  soon  learned  that  Bowen  had 
captured  some  Jesuit's-bark  hidden 
about  the  ship.  To  this  Balchen 
replied  that  it  was  very  foolish  in 
members  of  his  crew  to  wish  to 
smuggle,  and  that  he  had  himself 
a  certain  amount  of  bark  which 
he  was  carrying  openly.  Here  we 
see  that  captains  in  the  Navy  in 
1716  were  not  above  trying  to  eke 
out  pay  and  allowances  by  little 
trading  ventures.  Bowen  replied 
that  he  must  search,  and  was  told 
that  he  might.  After  sitting 
quietly  for  a  few  minutes,  Bowen 
jumped  up,  and  said  he  would 
begin  his  search.  Balchen's  story 
is  cleverly  told.  He  brings  no 
charge,  and  hardly  even  insinu- 
ates one,  yet  he  leaves  a  distinct 
impression  that  the  surveyor  was 
fishing  for  a  bribe  —  which  was 
probably  the  case.  Bowen  went 
down  below  accompanied  by  the 
sailing-master,  who  returned  in  a 
few  minutes  saying  that  he  ap- 
peared sulky  at  being  watched. 


When  the  surveyor  came  up  again 
he  reported  having  found  so  much 
bark.  It  was  less  than  Bowen 
possessed,  and  so  he  said.  At 
this  point  some  of  the  conversa- 
tion between  the  parties  seems  to 
have  dropped  out ;  but  we  gather 
that,  if  not  by  express  words,  then 
by  nod,  wink,  or  tone  of  voice,  the 
surveyor  gave  the  captain  to  under- 
stand that  he  suspected  him  of 
smuggling.  Certain  it  is  that 
Balchen  on  his  own  showing  be- 
came very  angry,  and  cast  about 
for  some  means  of  repaying  the 
annoyance  the  surveyor  was  caus- 
ing him.  Suddenly  the  bright 
idea  struck  him  to  ask  for  the 
man's  "  deputation  "  or  authority 
to  act.  Bowen  could  not  produce 
it.  There  was  clearly  not  the 
faintest  doubt  as  to  the  man's 
character ;  but  Balchen  saw  his 
technical  advantage,  and  was  re- 
solved to  have  his  revenge.  He 
insisted  on  treating  the  man  as  an 
impostor,  and  ordered  one  of  his 
legs  to  be  fastened  in  the  "  bilboes," 
or  iron  stocks  used  for  punishing 
sailors.  Then  he  walked  up  and 
down  in  front  of  him  in  a  tower- 
ing rage.  But  the  surveyor's 
equanimity  was  perfectly  restored. 
The  assault  could  be  made  as  lucra- 
tive as  a  bribe,  so  he  slapped  his 
imprisoned  leg,  and  said  jeeringly, 
"There  is  a  hundred  pounds  on 
that  leg,  Captain."  Perhaps  be- 
cause, like  Dalgetty,  he  thought  it 
doubly  dishonourable  to  be  called 
to  account  for  a  petty  delinquency, 
Balchen  answered,  "  Is  there  ?  then 
you  shall  have  two.  Put  his  other 
leg  into  the  bilboes,"  and  in  it 
went.  After  a  few  minutes  the 
sailing-master  and  surgeon  con- 
vinced the  angry  captain  that 
Bowen  was  what  he  represented 
himself  to  be — or  mayhap,  Bal- 
chen's wrath  was  cooled  by  the 
thought  of  consequences.  In  any 
case,  the  man  was  let  loose,  and 


1898.] 


Smollett  and  the  old  Sea-Dogs. 


239 


went  off  to  make  his  complaint. 
The  end  probably  was  a  slight 
pecuniary  transaction  between  the 
parties,  in  which  much  less  than 
two  hundred  pounds  passed  hands. 
The  finical  sea-fop  Mizen  strikes 
one  as  being  probably  less  of  a 
heightened  natural  picture  than 
Flip,  yet  we  know  not  to  what  ex- 
tremes men  might  go  in  a  reaction 
against  the  "  Wappineer  Tar." 
Much  of  what  is  alleged  against 
Mizen  for  his  foppery  is  the  stock 
matter  of  the  derision  directed  at 
that  time  against  all  beaux.  What 
strikes  one  not  a  little  is  that 
much  of  Mizen's  "  foppery "  has 
become  the  decency  of  the  Navy 
of  to-day.  No  captain  would  be 
laughed  at  now  for  insisting  that 
the  men  who  manned  his  side 
should  be  "in  smart  apparel, "still 
less  for  stipulating  for  clean  shirts 
on  his  crew — though  he  would  not 
be  expected  to  provide  them  him- 
self, as  this  unjustly  derided  officer 
did.  Mizen  had  a  taste  for  per- 
fumes which  was  excessive — but 
he  also  washed,  and  was  quite  as 
odious  to  Flip  on  that  account  as 
for  his  more  effeminate  likings.  No 
modern  naval  audience — nor  any 
audience  which  knows  what  the 
inside  of  a  man-of-war  is  like — 
would  be  convulsed  by  the  descrip- 
tion of  Mizen's  cabin.  "  I  dare 
affirm  it,"  he  says,  "no  Town 
Lady's  withdrawing  -  room  nor 
Country  Gentlewoman's  closet  is 
nicer  furnish'd  than  my  Cabin ; 
'tis  wainscoted  with  most  charming 
India,  Japan,  and  Looking-glasses ; 
I  have  a  very  noble  Scrutore,  and 
the  most  celebrated  Skreen  in 
Europe ;  I  have  an  Invention, 
which  makes  the  great  Guns  in  my 
Cabin  appear  to  be  Elbow-Chairs 
cover'd  with  Cloth  of  Tissue  :  I 
have  six-and-thirty  silver  Sconces, 
and  every  Vacancy  is  cramm'd 
with  Glass."  Modern  great  guns 
are  not  found  in  cabins,  and  it 


would  be  difficult  to  make  them 
look  like  arm-chairs.  They  bear  a 
much  stronger  resemblance  to 
magnified  bronchitis  -  kettles,  as 
they  project  their  thirty -six  and 
forty  feet  of  length  out  of  bar- 
bettes. But  the  rest  of  the  cap- 
tain's furniture  is  not  much  out  of 
the  way.  It  is  more  proof  of  a 
certain  Philistinism  which  invaded 
us  in  the  middle  eighteenth  cen- 
tury, that  when  Poet  Thompson 
adapted  the  play  in  1773  he 
added  a  pianoforte  and  a  guitar 
to  the  gimcracks  of  Mizen's  cabin. 
The  mere  notion  that  a  naval 
officer  should  do  anything  so  un- 
manly as  play  a  musical  instrument 
excited  the  utmost,  and  most  con- 
temptuous, hilarity  ;  yet  the  Ad- 
miral Fairfax  of  Queen  Anne's 
time  played  the  violin,  and  was  a 
stout  fighting  man  none  the  less. 
It  ought,  by  the  way,  to  be  a  warn- 
ing to  those  who  think  that  humble 
beginnings  always  prove  the  ple- 
beian birth  of  naval  officers  at 
that  time,  that  Fairfax,  who  be- 
longed to  the  great  Yorkshire 
family  of  the  name,  learned  his 
trade  of  sailor  as  apprentice  in  a 
merchant-ship  trading  to  the  Lev- 
ant. If  Poet  Thompson  came  back 
now  he  would  find  pianofortes  in 
many  ships,  and  if  he  did  not  find 
guitars,  he  would  have  no  difficulty 
in  discovering  banjoes.  Even  in 
Queen  Anne's  day  all  was  not  so 
very  rough.  When  Sir  Cloudesley 
Shovel  invited  Prince  Eugene  to 
dinner  during  the  siege  of  Toulon, 
he  gave  him  a  very  stately  enter- 
tainment, so  that  he  cannot  have 
been  wanting  in  the  means  to 
appear  in  the  figure  which  Nelson 
thought  a  British  admiral  should 
know  how  to  maintain. 

Yet  though  its  "  brutishness  " 
might  not  be  unrelieved,  there  was 
unquestionably  much  that  was 
rough,  and  there  were  possibilities 
of  great  brutality  in  the  old  Navy, 


240 


Smollett  and  the  old  Sea-Dogs. 


[Aug. 


as  these  two  stories,  both  taken 
from  the  years  in  which  Shadwell 
was  studying  its  "  humours,"  will 
show.  The  first  can  best  be  told 
in  the  words  of  the  journal  of  Sir 
George  Rooke,  where  it  stands 
under  date  of  Saturday,  August 
12,  1702:— 

"  At  six  this  evening  Captain  Nor- 
ris  coming  on  board  this  ship  [the 
flagship],  my  Lord  Hamilton,  Captain 
Ley,  Captain  Wishart,  and  Captain 
Trevor  were  standing  on  the  quarter- 
deck, and  as  Captain  Norris  came  up, 
Lord  Hamilton  asked  him  if  he  had 
taken  any  more  wine  or  brandy.  The 
other  answered  No  ;  upon  which  Cap- 
tain Trevor  asked  the  price  of  his 
claret,  whether